Getting consistent sleep. Research is piling up about the benefits of sleep. Even if we didn’t have the research, I know all of us have stories in which lack of sleep caused difficulties. The more consistent I am with my sleep, the more consistent I am in my personal growth and leadership.

The pandemic pause brought us to a moment of collective reckoning about what it means to live well and to work well. As a result, employees are sending employers an urgent signal that they are no longer willing to choose one — life or work — at the cost of the other. Working from home brought life literally into our work. And as the world now goes hybrid, employees are drawing firmer boundaries about how much of their work comes into their life. Where does this leave employers? And which perspectives and programs contribute most to progress? In our newest interview series, Working Well: How Companies Are Creating Cultures That Support & Sustain Mental, Emotional, Social, Physical & Financial Wellness, we are talking to successful executives, entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, and thought leaders across all industries to share ideas about how to shift company cultures in light of this new expectation. We’re discovering strategies and steps employers and employees can take together to live well and to work well.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Erin Seheult.

Erin Seheult has always generally been a head taller than peers, which causes others to literally look up to her; as such, leadership is a natural interest. Her research uncovers a simple truth that good leadership is firmly rooted in healthy relationships, and the best relationships are summed up in a simple preposition: WITH. By day, Erin is a University Registrar, which is a fabulously nebulous occupation requiring creative solutions for messy problems; when she is not working on those problems, Erin enjoys blasting through life with her husband and two boys, while speaking and writing about practical ways to be WITH.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you better. Tell us about a formative experience that prompted you to change your relationship with work and how work shows up in your life.

Officially, I joined the workforce at the age of 13; unofficially my first job was at the age of seven helping my grandfather around his paralegal office. From my freshman year of high school until the present, there has only been one 3-month span of time that I did not have a job. I have always been on a payroll. As a perfectionist and doer, this has worked well for me, as I generally love school and work. Things external to me that I can accomplish, check off, and wrap up with a perfectly coifed bow speak to my soul. In truth, work has been deeply tied to my identity.

It turns out I’m not alone, as Pew Research found in 2016 that 51% of workers derive a sense of identity from their jobs; that number increases to 77% for those with a graduate degree ( The issue with this reality is if we define ourselves by and through our jobs, we become “enmeshed.” The BBC identified this issue in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and correctly stated that enmeshment is damaging to health at all levels ( If our jobs are the foundation of our identity, when our job changes or goes away so does our self-worth. Mental, physical, emotional, financial, and even spiritual well-being are tied to self-worth, and when we hang our self-worth on something so changeable as a job title, we set ourselves up for crisis.

I am sure my experience matches many of our readers in that Covid-19 was my formative work experience. When I suddenly did not have a 45-minute commute twice a day that chipped away at my family time, when I could enjoy lunch with my family every day, when I could introduce colleagues to my boys when they burst into the office during a zoom meeting, I began to slowly recognize I could hinge my identity on what was permanent rather than transitory. I began to identify myself as a mother and wife who also worked outside of the home, rather than a University Registrar who also had a home life. Covid-19 paused the hustle surrounding my work life enough to see ways I can contribute to the world without attaching a job title to it. In truth, I am far more aligned between my real identity and my values. The lockdown allowed me to see the disconnect between what I said I prioritized and what I actually prioritized as demonstrated through my actions.

On January 30, 2020 — less than two months before the state of California locked down in an effort to flatten the Covid-19 curve — I launched a leadership blog and published my first post. Like many people, the disruption of the lockdown gave time to take on new hobbies, to find new ways to express oneself, and mine became the WITH LEADERSHIP blog. Through writing and speaking on leadership topics, my sense of identity has grown into a sense of deep personal understanding of my passions and abilities outside of a job title.

Work and I now have a growing respect, not a dependence. To be clear, financial income is important, and I have separated that into a need that can be accomplished in ways that don’t define me. Even though I’m taking the beginning steps on this new path, I can attest to the freedom and deep sense of gratification that comes from leaning into the important relationships in my world. I am determined to no longer let a job title obfuscate my foundational relationships and personal passions as my identity.

If I was asked before the lockdown of 2020 who I was, my response most likely would include my job title. Now, I affirm I am Erin Seheult, a wife and mother who deeply enjoys her family and has a passion for learning, spreading, communicating, and applying authentic leadership principles in whatever position God asks me to hold.

Harvard Business Review predicts that wellness will become the newest metric employers will use to analyze and to assess their employees’ mental, physical and financial health. How does your organization define wellness, and how does your organization measure wellness?

There is a powerful book produced by National Geographic and authored by Dan Buettner titled, “Blue Zones.” Buettner identifies five locations around the world whose residents are up to 10 times more likely to live to the age of 100 and enjoy a greater quality of life for seven to ten years longer than the average American.

There are various points identified as reasons why these people groups spread across the globe enjoy a longer and better quality of life, and they can be boiled down to the following seven areas: protected time to rest and rejuvenate each day and once a week (Sabbath), maintenance of a healthy BMI, spend time outside, perform daily moderate exercise, participate in a community of like-minded people, eat and drink specific foods at optimal times, and give to others.

There is only one Blue Zone in the North American continent, and that is in Southern California where I live. My organization focus on wholeness and looks at the entirety of a person in these seven areas. It takes to heart the concepts outlined in Blue Zones and works to include the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial health for all employees. This is accomplished by providing tools for each of these areas as part of the benefits package. Tools such as access to a gym and producing programs supportive of exercise and physical health, an employee assistance program for mental and behavioral health needs, subscription to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University for financial support, and a robust health insurance package that gives a discount for those who desire to practice wholeness.

Currently, my organization has no formal measurement tool for wholeness. As humans, we seek to quantify everything we can, even concepts that are ideally vaporware, such as wholeness. Here’s the rub, as the Harvard Business Review article points out, even if wholeness or wellness can be accurately measured, the options to improve wholeness do not do any good when not even 40% of employees take advantage of them. As the old adage goes, we can lead a horse to water, but we cannot make it drink.

Based on your experience or research, how do you correlate and quantify the impact of a well workforce on your organization’s productivity and profitability?

In February 2015, the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) produced a report confirming a majority of leaders believe that employee health has a significant impact on productivity and performance ( Science confirms the mind-body connection is undeniable. If an employee is healthy and whole, their ability to produce quality work is naturally improved.

What this report also confirmed is likely what many individuals below the executive level feel — health and wholeness may be talked about, but it isn’t really a true commitment because employees don’t feel whole. If the commitment to health and wholeness is part of the organizational rhetoric, sometimes action doesn’t reach far into the organizational roots. Therefore, middle managers and front-line employees may scoff at the idea of wholeness if it isn’t clear how this is supported throughout organizational practices.

Based on this research, and the simple fact that health in general appears to be declining on the whole (, employers would do well to step up and create a culture in which they themselves demonstrate what it means to be healthy and whole. This is counter-intuitive in our first-world, always on, fast-food eating, never sleeping, always sitting leadership culture. If leaders believe a healthy workforce is a productive workforce, they should also believe a healthy leader is a productive leader.

There is something John Maxwell refers to as the law of the lid ( This refers to the fact that leadership is key in any level of success — and it can also be a hinderance. One can be stellar in skills and creating systems, but without leadership the potential of impact is dramatically muted. The area of health is a nationwide pandemic, with marked increases in mental and physical health mortality. If leaders believe in the health of their team, they must take efforts themselves to be healthy to prevent an unnecessary lid on what the team can accomplish.

Even though most leaders have good intentions when it comes to employee wellness, programs that require funding are beholden to business cases like any other initiative. The World Health Organization estimates for every $1 invested into treatment for common mental health disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. That sounds like a great ROI. And, yet many employers struggle to fund wellness programs that seem to come “at the cost of the business.” What advice do you have to offer to other organizations and leaders who feel stuck between intention and impact?

There are at least two ways to look at this type of situation. The first is money and the bottom line. If an international organization, such as the WHO, is sharing there is a notable return on investment, that in and of itself is a great reason to implement initiatives focused on healthcare. In addition, taking a look at costs associated with productivity losses due to absenteeism provides yet another reason to implement initiatives. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that absenteeism and the lost productivity associated with worker illness and injury costs US employers $225.8 billion annually, or $1,685 per employee per year.

The second way (which to me is far more engaging) is to look at the long-term value for the people who pass through your doors. The average American changes jobs 12 times over the course of their work life. That means a majority of people you hire will not remain with you. We can look at it as risk, or we can look at it as a challenge. A challenge to see how much we can improve that person’s life so when they leave, they speak so highly of our organization we will never be short of quality applicants. A way to do this is through providing quality health benefits.

So, if it makes sense for the money, it makes sense for the people, and it makes sense for the organization to implement an employee wellness initiative, why isn’t is more common? The issue is we are a society of instant gratification. The reality is we generally do not see the change outcomes for a space of time. For example, the decision to exercise is a good one, but the effects are seen only after weeks to months. Conversely, the decision to eat a hefty slice of chocolate cake after dinner every day doesn’t make a noticeable change right away, but your tightening belt and increasing A1C levels will let you know in time it was a bad decision. All this points out to us is good decisions don’t always bring a quick return on investment; but that doesn’t mean we don’t do it. We need to not focus on the money going out, but rather be prepared for the positive impact about to come back.

The numbers do not lie — employee health is paramount to organizational success. If it cannot be embarked upon because it will “eat into the business,” then lack of employee health will cause unnecessary failure both in the bottom line and in your people.

Speaking of money matters, a recent Gallup study reveals employees of all generations rank wellbeing as one of their top three employer search criteria. How are you incorporating wellness programs into your talent recruitment and hiring processes?

As a hiring employee of an established organization, I appreciate the wholeness package my organization provides, and I share it with interviewees whether it is asked about or not. As a founder of a small business, I am using a basic framework to shape our culture. To me, creating a sustainable and regenerative culture is exciting and engaging. The basic structure involves a strong articulation of (1) who we are and (2) what we do on the way to (3) where we are going.

Who We Are

Individuals who are grounded and most capable of wellness have resiliency and are self-aware ( In short, wellness requires self-awareness ( Said another way, without self-awareness one cannot be well. Increasing self-awareness requires intentionality, as it does not come by accident. It is surprisingly easy to move through life without truly understanding why certain behaviors and actions are our go-to responses, or why different outcomes never seem to come our way. Therefore, a culture that encourages and provides consistent opportunities for self-awareness engages in wellness and supports resiliency. One practical way I enjoy bringing self-awareness opportunities to my team is to take assessments, drill down into the findings, and make them practical by applying them to daily work.

I really appreciate the simplicity and complexity of Patrick Lencioni’s Working Genius assessment that came out less than two years ago. For brevity, I will not go into depth on the assessment, but I highly recommend dropping into Pat’s website to check it out ( Not only do I ask that everyone on my team take the assessment, but I ask that people lean into their geniuses and be vulnerable about their frustrations. Ways that we have done this is to do what we call “Genius Sprints.” In these semi-annual sprints, we decide on a project to focus energy on for 1–2 weeks and use our geniuses to complete the project.

Our most recent Genius Sprint was simple, yet received great traction. We identified two topics that had a lot of internal questions and created a sign-up sheet for both topics. Everyone was to sign up under the topic they wanted to help explain and list their name under one of their top workplace geniuses to make sure we had a somewhat even distribution of geniuses to see the sprint through to completion. The groups met, led themselves, and asked that everyone participate in their genius area (and any other areas as they were inclined). This resulted in two stellar presentations to the whole team that outlined each process, provided tools on where to go for answers, and created suggestions for improvement, some of which were implemented immediately.

What I have found is once people take the assessment, there is generally an ah-ha moment, not only for themselves, but also for colleagues. This allows for deeper understanding of how people tick and give an appreciation for different geniuses. The team really solidifies when it is clear everyone has strengths, all strengths are needed at various times in a process, and we have opportunity to accomplish goals and celebrate together. The mental, emotional, and social health increases when people understand how they like to work and are given the opportunity to do so. Ultimately, the more we intentionally learn about ourselves, the greater our opportunity for wellness.

What We Do

Creating expectations and guidelines from the beginning — especially at the interview stage — allows for a mutual understanding and respect of what takes place on a typical day. Self-awareness allows a leader to articulate an in-depth picture of expectancies in a way that doesn’t scream “micromanager here!” but provides a window into the soul of the organization and invites the interviewee to see if their values align with what they hear described. For example, our team has chosen three of the seven institutional standards as our focus: justice, compassion, and humility. Justice means we work hard to create systems that provide justice for all, and also keep our ear open for injustices that are caused so we can rectify them. Compassion means we insist on putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes before ending a conversation. There are some questions we receive consistently, yet unless we seek to understand it from the other person’s perspective, we cannot serve them well even if we technically have the right answer. Humility is a hard one for people who self-select to our team, as we all like to be right. Humility and always being right cannot coexist. Humility requires we admit our mistakes and seek to build relationships over being right (when it doesn’t go against ethics or policies, of course). We share these values at the beginning of all of our interviews and give the interviewee a chance to respond with how their values align. We also provide opportunities to celebrate the application of our values and rearticulate them in our team together times. Creating a positive, open, and constructive culture that surrounds the daily tasks is paramount to wellness.

Where We Are Going

If it isn’t clear where we are going, people won’t join. Our cause must be clear; our goal must be palpable. I agree with Simon Sinek that a successful organization isn’t one that focuses on being the best, or on playing a finite game, but one that realizes we are in an infinite game and our only true goal is to continually improve and serve well.

We’ve all heard of the four-day work week, unlimited PTO, mental health days, and on demand mental health services. What innovative new programs and pilots are you launching to address employee wellness? And, what are you discovering? We would benefit from an example in each of these areas.

I admit I get a bit giddy when talking about ways an organization can structure itself better to serve its employees. It always sits in my craw when I hear statements along the lines of, “The customer comes first.” What I hear that statement actually saying is, “Forget the employee, as long as the customer gets what they want my bottom line will be happy.” This couldn’t be further from the truth, as so many anecdotal conversations convince me that unhappy employees cause unhappy customers. Turns out it is not simply anecdotal, as Forbes and others have found this to be true: Richard Branson is accurate in his idea that in order to serve the customer well, first serve your employees well.

So, with that pre-amble, I’d love to jump into ways wellness can be supported at an organizational level. For the record, any recommendations I give come from personal research or experience and do not provide any kickbacks.

  • Mental Wellness: This is perhaps the biggest one in these pandemic-infused times. With mental health at a melting point, this must be foremost on every organizational list. Large organizations can afford (and should make sure they provide) free counseling and therapy options to employees. For small businesses, investing in apps for employees, such as Betterhelp, can ensure they have the help they need when they need it. There should be no barrier to mental health tools.
  • I heard a physician once tell a story of going through the motions with a patient in front of him who presented as unremarkable. Out of habit, the physician asked the patient if he had thoughts of hurting himself or others and was quickly moving onto the next question when the patient’s response stopped him cold. The man stoically said, “Yes, I have a plan to end my life when I get home today. I tucked my toothbrush in my pocket before leaving this morning hoping I had reason to use it tonight. I told myself that if I didn’t have an opportunity to tell anyone about my plans it was a sign I should follow through with them.”
  • As a hands-on leader, I do not want to miss the opportunity to let someone on my team find an outlet they desperately need but do not know how to create. Because of this story, I take it upon myself to create time with employees on a consistent basis to ask them how they are doing, and I encourage my leadership team to do the same. We never know how the simple act of asking a sincere question can encourage a positive outcome.
  • Emotional Wellness: The good news about emotional wellness is that it can occur without a large financial spend. Here’s the rub that typically wipes away the good news: emotional wellness thrives in a psychologically safe workplace. The reason this a rub is that it is hard to create a psychologically safe space. There is no question psychological safety is important with many articles like this one floating about: There’s also no question that it is far easier to become offended or defensive when someone speaks up with an opposing idea rather than welcome it and celebrate bravery to go against social pressures to provide a different opinion. Emotional wellness largely focuses on how the leader creates and supports the work environment and whether it is psychologically safe, or not.
  • In short, leadership response to ideas that counter the current determines the level of psychological safety. Leaders can (and should) respond to feedback with a measured response, always with the intention to address an issue, not a person. When others recognize they are valued regardless of whether their ideas win the day, the safety meter on the team increases.
  • Social Wellness: It is amazing how easy it is to only see the people in an organization in their work capacity and forget they are social beings with interests outside of creating widgets (or whatever they spend their time doing at work). Opportunities for social engagement without the pressures of work are key to social wellness. Great news — it doesn’t even need to cut into the budget.
  • Our team has a social committee that operates without using budget funds. They created a simple snack bar in the break room from which the proceeds provide the ability to host lunches for the office and put on small celebrations. I insist these events take place during work hours, as it protects family and personal time while creating a bond within the office. Social opportunities at work should never create a choice between work and other relationships — work will lose a majority of the time.
  • Physical Wellness: There are many benefit packages that generally fall to an insurance company with a health plan. For large organizations, this works. For small businesses, the good news is there are ways to provide physical health support, as well. Organizations such as Remodel Health ( give small businesses options for excellent coverage with doable rates.
  • Another component of physical wellness involves structuring the work day to allow for physical movement in addition to the mental work that is naturally required in most jobs. Here are some practical (and free) tips on how to improve physical wellness at work:
  • Consistently schedule walking meetings.
  • Schedule meetings for 45 minutes to allow for bio breaks and movement opportunities in-between meetings.
  • Encourage friendly health challenges that improve physical health, such as water drinking and step competitions.
  • Financial Wellness: This one is frequently overlooked because finances are a tough one, as money matters are generally kept close to the chest because it is a highly personal matter. There are at least three ways organizations can support financial wellness of their employees. First and foremost, pay a living wage. The Great Resignation shows people want compensation at a competitive level and are willing to make an uncomfortable and scary job move to receive it. Secondly, organizations should purchase financial tools that employees can opt into using, such as Financial Peace University by Ramsey Solutions. The promotion of this included benefit is key, and consistently reminding employees of this benefit is hugely important to ensuring they use it. Thirdly, even though it may sound counterintuitive, encourage financial giving. Study after study like this one ( show that giving our money to individuals, or to causes we align with, bring happiness and positive benefits. Ways to do this are to consistently promote opportunities to give of either time or money, select an organization or charity to support and set a goal, or sponsor a child in need of education. Whatever the ways, don’t avoid helping with financial health because it is potentially awkward.

Can you please tell us more about a couple of specific ways workplaces would benefit from investing in your ideas above to improve employee wellness?

I’ll answer this question with a story. There was a woman who realized she was not well and decided to work toward wellness. She began to change her diet. She began to walk around her neighborhood in the mornings. She purposed in her heart she would not eat the donuts in the breakroom and stuck to it. She looked for ways to be more active by taking the stairs and parking farther away. The results are to be expected. She stopped missing the mass amounts of chocolate she used to consume and enjoyed the piece of dark chocolate in the evenings. She began to run more than walk in the mornings and (gasp) somewhat look forward to it. She lost 80 lbs. She began to enjoy getting ready in the morning. She slept better. She woke up to her alarm (and sometimes before) feeling happy and healthy. She became more well with time. That is all to be expected.

What wasn’t expected was how it overflowed into her work. She found it easier to show up on time. It was easier to focus and accomplish tasks. She was able to implement efficiencies and better track progress on tasks. Her communication skills improved because her listening skills increased. Her mind felt sharp and clear and she could see things and make decisions with greater clarity. She was becoming a better worker because of her choice to become more well. I know this is true, because that woman was me. It was astounding to wake up one day and see the dark cloud that was the everyday far in the distance and recognize the sky wasn’t gray, but in fact it was beautifully blue.

Workplaces can only fully benefit from wellness programs if leadership adopts it, too. Leaders who focus on their wellness will improve, which will improve the organizational culture, which will support employees in their improvement. While an organization should provide a wellness program for employees whether or not leadership fully buys in and participates, organizations will never fully benefit unless there is 100% buy-in from the top down.

How are you reskilling leaders in your organization to support a “Work Well” culture?

Whenever I think of reskilling, I think of the story of Ghandi and the boy who ate too much sugar. As a quick recap, Ghandi was approached by a mother who desperately wanted her boy to stop eating sugar for his health and asked Ghandi to tell her son it was bad for him as a way to convince her boy to change his ways. Ghandi asked the mother and son return in two weeks. During that time Ghandi stopped eating sugar so when the mother and boy returned, he had no qualms telling the boy he should stop eating sugar because it was bad for him. He had no qualms because he had gone first. Leaders lead — they go first. If I am to reskill my leaders to support a “Work Well” culture, I need to reskill myself first and bring them along. I am doing this through the following:

  1. Working in some form of intentional movement every day. Ideally this would be great first thing in the morning, and as a working mother I have learned to be flexible and use my dedicated lunch hour for a brisk walk or take my boys outside after work on summer evenings to run around and play. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
  2. Scheduling walking meetings. It is so foreign to many how a meeting can be accomplished while walking around the neighborhood that they must experience it to know how it works. By learning how to do it myself and scheduling meetings with my team, it becomes common and easier to pass on. I am encouraged to see more and more colleagues outside of my immediate work circle on walking meetings when I’m out and about.
  3. Tracking what I eat and drink. This one is hard, and yet mindfulness is the key to change. Everyone has a struggle or two, and one of mine is food. I know I cannot be healthy if I don’t pay attention to what goes in my mouth, therefore I track.
  4. Getting consistent sleep. Research is piling up about the benefits of sleep. Even if we didn’t have the research, I know all of us have stories in which lack of sleep caused difficulties. The more consistent I am with my sleep, the more consistent I am in my personal growth and leadership.
  5. Revamping my work day to allow for protected time to be productive. Blocking off time and holding to it has been a mental and emotional health boon for me. My emails remain under control. My tasks are less likely to fall through the cracks. I have less mental angst when something unexpectedly comes my way. Building in margin is a superpower.
  6. Connecting with my leadership team to share what I’m learning. I meet weekly with my leadership team corporately and individually to talk work stuff. I also set up semi-monthly meetings to talk about growing our leadership in a personal and general sense. We benefit from these conversations because we share our growth and provide real-life examples of how to be well.

Ideas take time to implement. What is one small step every individual, team or organization can take to get started on these ideas — to get well?

A large ship takes time and skill to change course dramatically; smaller ships are far nimbler. Unless we are the CEO or in the C-suite, we are the smaller ship. Take advantage of being nimble! In my previous answer I outline some small steps I’ve implemented over time — I’m nowhere close to perfect, and I can attest to the boost to my wellbeing by being intentional in my own life. When my wellbeing improves, those around me have an opportunity to see my example and improve as well. Eventually, a critical mass is reached and a group of smaller ships is able to pull the large ship onto a new course.

What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Workplace Wellness?”

  1. Wholeness Plans. This is not a new trend, and I perceive it will continue. Encouraging employees to participate in preventive care activities by discounting the deductibles for insurance plans is not going away. Not only does it save organizations money, but it improves employee wellness, which increases productivity and engagement. All three are strong reasons to continue or implement a wholeness plan. In our “Blue Zone,” one of the contributing factors to living a longer, higher quality life is eating a plant-based diet. As such, on-campus food venues offer vegetarian and vegan food options — no meat is on the menu. This is not to be restrictive, as there are countless non-plant-based opportunities just minutes away, but to provide an opportunity to try an alternative lifestyle with lasting benefits. Those who desire the wholeness plan have a way to participate in a diet that supports preventive care; organizations who take it upon themselves to provide opportunities for their employees to choose a better path are more likely to see returns on investments.
  2. Ergonomics & Deskercise. Perhaps you have heard, “sitting is the new smoking.” While the University of South Australia performed a study in 2018 that strongly disagrees with that statement, the idea of sitting, and sitting for long periods of time, indeed has negative effects. Even though employees are desiring more flexibility to work remotely, either partially or fully, there are studies showing that working remotely itself has negative effects ( These effects largely come from sitting too long and sitting incorrectly. It is possible to sit wrong and to do so through the copious Zoom meetings we all have plugged into our calendars. The result is repetitive injuries are occurring at an astonishing increase of 39% compared to pre-Covid numbers ( As such, our organization has created a way to encourage movement while at our desk, called Deskercise (a nod to Jazzercize, I’m sure). Even though it is an internal joke to share how we did on the latest Deskercise activity, the reality is we see a benefit and many of us are incorporating certain movements into our typical day. Another piece that clearly has it’s time is an ergonomics package. This includes basic hardware and instructions on how to set up an ergonomically structured work area at home. This may include ergonomic keyboard and mouse, standing desk, adjustable monitors, ergonomic chair, and natural lighting. Regardless of the specifics, organizations who are forward thinking will allocate resources to create a remote ergonomics package and be on the cutting edge of workplace wellness.
  3. Virtual Wellness. Call me crazy — I foresee virtual reality (VR) playing a much larger role in workplace wellness in the near future. Covid-19 pushed a lot of things over the edge from periphery into more mainstream, and VR is no different. VR is taking over aspects of healthcare (, teaching human skills such as empathy (, and having tremendous success in highly effective employee training ( It stands to reason if VR has created resources for surgeries to take place virtually since 2016, training new employees and maintaining continuing education requirements for HR purposes, and becoming a growing field to simulate scenarios for the benefit of growth and learning, that many other fields will take the jump into VR. If organizations are looking at using VR as a location for training and eventually work (, it makes sense they would also look to that environment for encouraging and sustaining wellness. In fact, Meta (formally Facebook) touts using the Metaverse as a place employees can use to quickly retreat to a relaxing environment between work events to regenerate and experience something different — to clear the palate, so to speak. We talked about cutting edge organizations providing an ergonomics package to encourage healthy situations when outside of the office, well, what if that package wasn’t a computer with desk and chair, but a VR headset, directions on how to create your own “break room,” and scheduled training sessions? I can see it, I really can.
  4. Community. The health struggles caused by lack of interaction exposed how truly social we all are — extroverts and introverts alike. Covid-19 demonstrated the simple fact that we are foundationally relational. As a solid introvert, even though I enjoyed the work from home part (truth be told I enjoyed it a lot), there were points when even I desired interaction and community. I felt it the most in two separate scenarios: (1) when a planned family event had to be cancelled yet again due to infection numbers continuing to climb or hold steady and (2) when I had a difficult leadership situation and strongly desired to have a community of leaders who had my back surround me and provide helpful insight into best next steps. Community in the form of small groups, educational teams, or themed networks have started in earnest and will continue to grow to meet the relational needs of people in specific situations. I am not talking about a self-help group meeting once a month via zoom or phone call; I’m talking about online and virtual reality interactions not only facilitated during regular business hours, but also filled with quick help tools, personal development, and eventually even a virtual assistant to guide to what is needed related to the topic of the network. An example of this is the newly launched “The Art of Leadership Network” by Carey Nieuwhof where leaders in entrepreneurship, ministry, or business have access to podcasts documenting powerful conversations with top world leaders, access to online courses on common leadership struggles, and the ability to join live mentorship and Q&A sessions with cutting edge leaders.
  5. Flexibility. While flexibility continues to sit in the top three reasons why people participate in The Great Resignation (, I have a sneaking feeling we haven’t fully reached into what flexibility can offer. While working remotely some or all of the time is definitely providing flexibility, fewer employers are willing to engage different times to work, and most cannot fathom what it means to work disjointed throughout the day around appointments and school drop-offs and pick-ups. True flexibility would involve employees being free to work in bursts, where one week they work intensely to accomplish the needed projects in a short period of time and then enjoy a five-day weekend, while the next week they spread out the work over the usual course of time and enjoy a leisure dinner with family every evening. This would spill over into workplace wellness by employees being free to fully manipulate their schedules for their needs, as long as their project needs are met. This also includes flexibility of receiving wellness care exactly when needed, rather than waiting 2–6 weeks for an appointment to open up. Imagine experiencing a stressful meeting and taking 5–10 minutes to virtually join a community or break room to let the mind unwind or to process through a knotty problem. This is true flexibility, and even though I am unsure how it will coordinate, I know our current level of flexibility is only whetting the appetite for more.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?

My greatest source of optimism is embodied in the fact we are publishing articles like this. Wholeness concepts require rubber to connect with the proverbial road and make progress. This cannot be pie in the sky by and by, as theory doesn’t automatically translate to physical, mental, emotional, financial, or spiritual well-being. The more conversations are being had, the more likely tangible progress will be made.

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Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.

It has been a pleasure!