By Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

To download a free copy of Wellness and Well-being: Building a Better Business Case (Research Summary), click here.

During a panel about multi-generational workforces at the Brandon Hall Group Women in Leadership Summit 2018 last week, I heard a sentiment that reminded me of something I wrote recently in our well-being research summary, to paraphrase: there used to be a lot of talk about work/life balance, but that’s out the window. There’s no clear division between the two; instead, it’s all about making sure one doesn’t overwhelm the other.

For the younger generation, this idea of managing work as part of your life is almost a no-brainer, but for Gen X or older, it’s a fairly new concept. We used to hear about balancing our home life with our work life, but in the era of smartphones, ubiquitous Wi-Fi and the common use of remote workers, the line between work and life isn’t blurred; it’s disappeared.

Brandon Hall Group is not the only research firm to note the importance of employee experience, and we aren’t the only ones to talk about the need for total employee well-being either, but it is important to understand the changes that slowly crept up on us led to a watershed moment: your social life (now also digital, always-on and remotely accessible) is no different than your work life. In fact, it IS your work life.

If an employee suffers from sleep loss and poor diet and they use an employer-provided app at 10 pm to monitor their caloric intake and maintain a sleep log, is that “work” or is “life?” According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Wellness and Wellbeing study, 40% of organizations make use of wearables or mobile tracking devices to help administer their wellness programs. Do those turn on at 8 am and off at 5 pm, and do we believe employees only count their steps in those hours? Of course not, but we still maintain a fiction that there is a delineation between “work wellness” and general wellness, even though who you are does not change magically when the emails stop coming in (and when is that exactly?).

All of this is to say that it is time we start thinking about the integration of work and life, and not the “balance” between the two, and how we can make that happen in a positive way to help our employees’ “work + life.”

In the same study cited above, the most common way that a wellness program’s success was measured was in increased employee engagement (42% of organizations used this method), rather than in tired metrics like workers comp claims (12%) or voluntary turnover (9%).

Clearly, organizations see that engagement is the new wellness and that when a person feels fulfilled in their community and family, they also feel fulfilled at work. For a greater number of us, there is no difference between those things.

To download a free copy of Wellness and Well-being: Building a Better Business Case (Research Summary), click here.

Cliff Stevenson, (Twitter: @CliffordDarrell) Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

For more information on Brandon Hall Group’s research, please visit www.brandonhall.com.

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