Prioritizing Employee Wellness: Insights from Business Leaders

Employee wellness has become a hot topic in the business world as leaders recognize the importance of a healthy and happy workforce. However, implementing wellness initiatives can be a challenge, especially for companies that prioritize productivity over employee well-being. To gain some practical insights, we asked a group of successful entrepreneurs and business owners to share their thoughts on how to incorporate employee wellness into management styles. Here are their thoughts and examples of how they have noticed a positive impact on their businesses.

Inbar Madar

Title: Founder and Business Consultant

Company: M.I. Business Consulting


When incorporating wellness into your management style, you want to consider what kind of support and collaboration you can offer employees during work hours, vs. what kind of support you can offer them after work hours. Most companies provide supplemental wellness offerings that help employees outside of work, but most employees seek additional resources to find work-life balance due to an imbalance of stress they experience at work. Actively acknowledging these struggles, and working directly with employees to find solutions to their individualized needs fosters a more personal connection for employees and their workspaces.

1. Hold one-on-one weekly touch bases. During these touch bases, check in with your employees regarding their workload and their personal wellbeing. As a leader and their manager, you can provide support that no one else can. If they’re dealing with complications at home, or experiencing health issues, offering solutions that are under your control like taking time off or establishing shorter work days for a set period of time ensures employees feel valued, seen, and appreciated. If they’re stressed at work and feel like they have too much to do, make time to help organize their workload, and ensure they’re prioritizing and equitably sharing workload tasks with their team members. This helps reinforce your employees’ recognition that you’re there for them — professionally and personally.
2. Create an annual work plan that is focused on their goals. Whether that’s a quarterly review to reach a promotion, or ensuring employees have time to learn a skill they need, helping them get there will increase brand loyalty and motivation.

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Anton Radchenko

Title: Founder & CEO

Company: AirAdvisor


Wellness programs aim to care for and improve the morale of employees.

The wellness program is a way of making the core of the organization strong. Connecting and having regular conversations with employees, in the eyes of business leaders, is a source of knowing the wellness of their people. Regular conversation, a regular work schedule, and appreciation of their work are the keys to generating wellness for people. Also, organizing sessions that can increase the knowledge of people about wellness can be a thoughtful act by the management. All the collective ideas will build love and kindness among the employees and further increase productivity and retention in the organization.

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A. Raheim White

Title: Mindfulness Master, Wellness Specialist, & Speaker

Company: The Transformation Wizard


In a post (ish) pandemic world, we’re picking up the pieces of our challenged mental and emotional states. Self-care and wellness have become buzz words all over the internet. What does this mean for leadership in management? What are the potential benefits?

As a mindfulness master, wellness specialist, and speaker who teaches organizations how to integrate wellness into company culture, I believe mindfulness is an integral part of creating a thriving company. When leaders add mindfulness to their management style, they cultivate a space for all to succeed. What most leaders fail to remember is that companies consist of individuals. If you empower individuals with tools to help them consciously lead their own lives, they will bring that same dynamism into their work.
Here are 3 simple processes you can integrate into your management style for maximum benefit.

1. Daily Check-In
Having a 5 to 10 minute daily check-in can make all the difference to someone feeling unseen and invalidated. A two-word check in or 30-second to two-minute moment for each member (with a timer) is great. If we know that Kwame is having a challenging day because he lost a close friend, we will not see his lack of productivity as laziness but coping with heavy emotion. If you’re doing the timer method and someone does not desire to share, let the timer run anyway. Much can be processed in silent space. Remember, your team members are human. They are not machines.

When team members feel safe to be their vulnerable selves, they develop trust in your guidance. From this trust, they can feel encouraged to share innovative ideas because they understand that you desire them to succeed.

2. Deep Mindful Breaths
Stress is a killer. It kills dreams; it kills innovation, and it kills people. Being able to self-regulate one’s emotions is a required tool for creating a thriving sense of self. It is possible to do this through deep breaths.

Inhale for a slow count of five, and exhale for a slow count of five, for at least 10 rounds. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest-and-digest” system, which is the body’s natural, life-sustaining mechanism. It is responsible for increasing oxygenation in the blood, reducing cortisol levels and heart-rate, calming the mind, soothing the body, and helps one to feel safe.

Collective self-regulation can create a sense of harmony, cohesion, and communal support. It’s a simple yet powerful tool to gain control over anxiety. It grounds and affirms being present in your own body so you can act with intention versus impulse.

3. Accountability
To be an effective, trustworthy leader, you must lead by example. If you make a mistake, own it. Team members can feel slighted when they have to correct the mistakes of their leaders without acknowledgement. This can create resentment and misplaced anger. Verbally express your misstep and thank your team member for assisting you.

Owning your mistakes does not make you weak. It makes you human and will help garner the trust of your supporters. This also demonstrates to your team members the importance of owning their mishaps. When we eliminate the blame game, we can solve problems expeditiously.

By adding these processes to your managing style, you can help create a space where your team members are equipped to foster nourishing connections that lead to improved rapport, dynamic collaborations, and overall ease.

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Rafał Młodzki

Title: CEO

Company: Passport Photo Online


I discuss with my team every decision that impacts their work. From new ideas for weekly meetings to major changes in our overall strategy, I believe it is crucial to involve my team in the decision-making process to ensure everyone feels heard and valued.

For example, recently, I wanted to introduce a new benefit, and I consulted my team to gather their input and ideas. We discussed what types of wellness programs would be most beneficial for the team, how we could implement them in a way that is accessible and convenient for everyone, and what metrics we could use to measure their success.

By involving my team in the planning and implementation of the program, we were able to create a workation program that truly met the needs of our employees, and that was more likely to be successful in promoting wellness within the workplace. The result? Our employee satisfaction and wellness rates went up by 20%, and we saw a significant increase in productivity and overall job satisfaction.

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Brian Lee

Title: Co-founder and CEO

Company: Arena Club


Company culture makes a significant impact on employee wellness. While it’s my job, as an entrepreneur, to ensure the team feels empowered to work at their best, keeping the culture intact is also essential.

A positive company culture can drive more significant success for any business because if you treat your team right, the result will be higher customer satisfaction. While customers are always a top priority, first ensuring your team is happy and jelling will have them working at peak performance. This results in people having a positive experience each time they interact with your brand. And finding ways to make the team even closer-knit boosts their engagement and keeps folks together longer, which is vital in winning the war to retain top talent.

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Shaunak Amin

Title: Co-founder and CEO

Company: SwagMagic


Fostering a better work-life balance for all employees is crucial when you have a mix of in-house, hybrid, and remote team members spanning the globe. So, scheduling a meeting that spans realistically across time zones is essential to ensure a larger attendance. And using an online time zone management tool such as lets you see everyone’s availability. This way, you can plan a meeting that fits into the work schedule of most employees.

However, there will always be team members who work outside the meeting timeframe. For this reason, we often hold asynchronous meetings. Team meetings have their place, but instead of just jumping on a team call a couple of times a week, we record updates. Doing so allows presenters to communicate information without the challenge of coordinating a meeting across time zones. Employees can then watch the update whenever it best suits their schedules and add comments and ideas as they come to mind. Utilizing asynchronous discussions is a more efficient, effective, and stress-free way of keeping everyone on the same page in the global remote workspace.

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Sai Blackbyrn

Title: CEO

Company: Coach Foundation


Here are some fantastic suggestions for encouraging your staff’s physical and mental well-being.
Encourage preventative medicine: When certain infectious illnesses, such as Covid 19, are on the rise, organize vaccination campaigns in the workplace. As they will save your staff from missing days or weeks of work, immunization programs for employees offer a clear return on investment.
Introduce rewards: Employees who respond well to the fitness programs you offer might get incentives, whether monetary or in another form. Offers like an extra percentage off the cost of health insurance premiums for those with healthy body mass indices, appropriate blood sugar levels, or acceptable blood pressure levels can be introduced.

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Dan Kroytor

Title: Founder and Director

Company: TailoredPay


Defining your team’s core hours of connectivity reduces stress as new demands arise in the workplace. While using a communication tool like Slack makes it easier for team members to reach out whenever help is needed, it can lead to an always-on mindset, disrupting the work-life balance and leading to burnout. For this reason, it’s crucial to establish clear timeframes concerning when employees need to make themselves available and when they don’t, allowing everyone to know when the right time is to reach out. It also enables folks to disconnect during off hours, allowing them to decompress and prioritize time with family and friends.

However, it is essential to consider which core hours are most advantageous for your team. For example, if you have many client-facing employees, set hours that allow them the most opportunities to manage relationships and respond to questions. Or set core hours expressly for meetings and collaboration. Doing so eliminates interruptions, enabling team members to focus on “deep work” outside the specified timeframe.

On the other hand, establishing core hours may not be a practical approach in the global remote workspace, with international team members working across multiple time zones. In this case, asynchronous meetings may prove the better option, as they do not occur in real-time, and discussions expand gradually.

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Josh Ladick

Title: Founder/President

Company: GSA Focus


As a business leader, you can take concrete steps to integrate employee wellness into your management style. Start by offering wellness benefits and programs, such as health insurance that covers wellness visits and gym memberships. Encourage breaks and flexibility, giving employees the opportunity to balance work and personal life. Create a healthy work environment by making sure the physical space promotes healthy habits, such as standing desks and access to natural light. Lead by example, modeling healthy habits and promoting work-life balance. Don’t forget to provide mental health support, offering resources such as an Employee Assistance Program or counseling services. By making employee wellness a priority, you will cultivate a workplace culture that supports the well-being of your employees, resulting in increased productivity, lower turnover, and improved morale.

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Tomek Mlodzki

Title: CEO

Company: PhotoAiD


Fostering a sense of community is a powerful but overlooked strategy. Why does it work so great? Because cultivating a sense of belonging reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, improving employees’ well-being. This strategy may include team-building events, creating a shared space or lounge area, and providing volunteering opportunities. Since we started to organize regular company picnics and quarterly company meetings, we have noticed a significant growth in employee satisfaction.
Also, people need to be recognized: it boosts their motivation, self-confidence and overall well-being. Thus, rewarding employees should be present in the management style of every employer who wants to support employee wellness. Giving praises, bonuses, and promotions for achievements are just a few ways to show employees their work is appreciated and valued.
Another quick way to improve employee wellness is by offering a comfortable work environment. Most of our employees work remotely, so we ensure they have the equipment to do their work at home. We also provide them with tools that help them to focus, like noise-canceling headphones. Equipping employees with needed items is a way to help them keep a healthy work-life balance.

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Charles Wagner

Title: Managing Director

Company: Ciento CBD Limited

Linkedin: Charles Wagner

One of the tactics we use is to contribute to our employees’ gym memberships. We have arranged with the local gym to give us a corporate rate and we pay half of the membership. For our employees that want to use this benefit, before we pay them we take their half of the membership off of their salary and pay the full amount for them. This means that they are still paying something for the membership giving them extra motivation to go and we are still supporting them in their efforts towards living a healthier life. A healthier body means a healthier mind which improve cognitive function and work ethic leading to the employee performing better for our company.

For those that don’t want to exercise we have also chosen to allow flexible working hours. There are numerous benefits to this. People feel happier knowing that they can work when they want to. For those that do want to exercise, we are very conscious of the fact that they may be less likely to exercise at the end of their work day so we offer them an hour and a half to go to the gym throughout the day as long as they work that extra hour and a half later in the day. Giving people the opportunity to do this means that they will get the added mental boost afterward their gym session which they can apply to their work. The Harvard Health Publishing School states that cardio exercise strengthens the heart and improves blood flow throughout the body, including to your brain, specifically its white matter. Better blood flow also can clear toxins from the brain, further protecting against inflammation and promoting neurogenesis — the development of new brain cells. Dr Brody Magid states that “The bottom line is that when it comes to the brain and exercise, any movement is better than none, and the more you move, the more you boost and protect your brain.”

The Harvard Health Publishing School also states that the benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors — chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells. Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment. Exercise protects your brain, so you will be better protected from mental exhaustion, specifically emotional drainage and feeling overwhelmed. Exercise is also recognised to reduce stress and anxiety. We feel overwhelmed when experience extreme levels of stress. So if it reduces stress and prevents people from becoming overwhelmed, then ultimately it prevents a key problem that causes burnout which is crucial to having satisfied workforce.

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Peter Monkhouse

Title: Founder

Company: ICL SA

Linkedin: N/A

Lead by example

It’s no secret that the management style a leader espouses plays a crucial role in setting the tone at the workplace and creating the workplace culture. The best way to include wellness in your management style is to communicate how important it is to you and act in accordance with that. When you’re having an off day, or a stressful week, or are feeling unmotivated, don’t hesitate to share it with your team and be transparent when dealing with it. This allows employees to eradicate any shame around the topic and feel okay with prioritizing their wellness when required. However, if you choose to use this method, it’s critical to use your discretion at all times so employees can think twice before taking advantage of it in any way.

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Harry Morton

Title: Founder

Company: The Lower Street


Make feedback a norm

While there may be a yardstick to gauge some of the best wellness practices that leaders can integrate, there’s nothing as valuable as direct feedback from your employees. What works for other workforces may not work for yours and this is why it’s crucial to make feedback and open communication the norm. This not only allows you to gain a deeper understanding of what exactly your workforce can benefit from but also gives them an opening to voice their discomfort. You’d be surprised how even having the option to do so can alleviate stress and make the workplace culture more harmonious.

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Lydia Alexandra Renders

Title: Founder, CEO & CIO

Company: Willow Investments; United Inner States of Freedom


As a Certified B Corporation whose core values are Love, Safety, Self-Development and Drive toward the better good, Willow goes beyond what we consider to be basic needs such as flex time, parental leave and profit sharing. Integral to our culture is a push toward self-development addressing issues ranging from trauma, to limiting beliefs, to grief, to finding your authentic truths and beyond. All team members participate in personal development days which focuses on various topics ranging from dynamic listening, moving beyond fear, how to speak truths and so much more. This form of what others may consider vulnerability, has created a cohesive, engaged, and satisfied group of employees. There are no unspoken words between us, so therefore there is no tension, just simply ease and support.

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Percy Grunwald

Title: Co-Founder

Company: Hosting Data


Encouraging Work-Life Balance

Encouraging employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance is one of the most important steps business leaders can take to promote employee wellness. This can be achieved by setting clear boundaries around work hours and encouraging employees to take breaks and use their vacation time. Leaders can also promote flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible schedules, which can help employees manage their work and personal responsibilities. By prioritizing work-life balance, leaders can reduce stress and burnout, and create a more positive and productive work environment.

Offering Wellness Benefits

Offering wellness benefits, such as gym memberships, healthy snacks, or access to mental health resources, can help employees prioritize their health and well-being. These benefits can also demonstrate that the company values employee wellness and is committed to supporting it. Providing resources for employees to manage stress and maintain good mental health can also reduce absenteeism and improve overall productivity.

Promoting Physical Activity

Encouraging physical activity in the workplace can have a positive impact on employee wellness. This can include setting up a company sports team, providing exercise classes during lunch breaks, or simply encouraging employees to take walks or stretch throughout the day. Physical activity can improve mood, reduce stress, and increase energy levels, making employees more productive and engaged in their work.

Fostering a Positive Work Environment

Fostering a positive work environment that promotes employee engagement and well-being is critical to employee wellness. This can include creating open lines of communication, addressing workplace stressors, and providing opportunities for employee development and growth. Leaders can also encourage employees to connect with their colleagues and build supportive relationships, which can improve morale and reduce stress.

Integrating Wellness into the Workplace Culture

Integrating wellness into the workplace culture is essential to making it a priority. This can include setting wellness goals, incorporating wellness metrics into performance evaluations, and promoting healthy habits in the workplace, such as healthy eating and regular exercise. By making employee wellness a part of the company culture, leaders can help create a workplace environment that supports and values employee well-being.

By following these steps, business leaders can effectively integrate employee wellness into their management styles, improving the well-being of their employees and creating a more positive and productive work environment.

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Anton Radchenko

Title: Founder

Company: AirAdvisor


“Leaders should help employees connect with their colleagues. By doing so, employees can support and understand each other’s struggles. This can be done through regularly engaging employees in team-building events to help them bond with their coworkers and uplift their morale. It could be organizing events to encourage involvement, such as company sports teams, social events, or even basic activities like off-office meetings.

Building an inclusive environment is another thing that can empower employees’ mental health and wellness. Listening to employees voicing their experiences or perspectives will foster an employee’s sense of belonging to the company. This unconsciously encourages them to become more open to the team, to share their views on improving the company, and solve personal issues of themselves and others. This relieves them from the stress of working, knowing they have colleagues and a leader to rely on in the worst times.”

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Mark Agnew

Title: CEO and Founder

Company: Eyeglasses


If leaders can recommend and provide resources to their team members, they can positively influence their employee’s wellness. By sharing helpful advice on topics and even just recommending a podcast, or maybe carving time to go over something with your team, you can make a big difference in someone’s life. Leaders have a lot of influence in the workplace and even just saying things can make a difference. As a leader, I constantly try to recommend new podcasts I’m listening to, books that can offer self-help advice, and even tactics I’ve been using for certain things.

I remember hearing from leaders I worked with and benefiting from their knowledge. They had a big impact on me as a leader and I enjoyed the advice they had to offer me as someone who had more experience. I try to do that same thing as a leader today. Share advice, spread the wealth, and influence others positively.

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Lisa Cutter

Title: President

Company: Vertical Insight Marketing


Employee wellness is a crucial aspect of any organization, as it’s directly linked to employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. Business leaders must prioritize employee wellness by either integrating it into their management styles or even into their business models if they want to remain successful and accelerate their business growth. Not to mention, caring about others is an important aspect of being human anyway!

Creating a culture of work-life balance is a start. I encourage my team to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. This shows them they’re valued as people, not assets. Other leaders can do this by providing flexible work arrangements, such as working remotely and flexible schedules so one doesn’t have to submit a PTO request just to have a doctor or dental appointment. When employees have control over their work schedules, they’re more likely to be productive, engaged, and satisfied. I’ve not only been one of the top producing employees in years past, but I offer this to my current team as well and I know it’s greatly appreciated.

Businesses can also encourage physical wellness because a healthy body promotes a healthy mind. Management can encourage employees to take breaks during the workday, provide a healthy food and drink environment, and organize group fitness activities such as yoga or walking clubs. It’s also important that leaders avoid interrupting employee breaks. I always encourage my team to take regular breaks and/or turn on some music and dance. And if I think I might be interrupting a break, I always ask and remind them to respond to me when they’re back from break, not right now. By offering health-promoting resources any organization can demonstrate a commitment to the overall well-being of their staff.

Companies can prioritize open communication and transparency, while also maintaining healthy boundaries. Open communication is critical for maintaining a positive work environment and leaders should be transparent and approachable. They can encourage feedback and listen to employees’ concerns. Establishing this communicative environment creates a sense of inclusivity and builds a culture of mutual trust.

On the topic of communication, management should not use instant messaging/texting for communication that isn’t both important and urgent. Consider Eisenhower’s Decision Matrix and craft a Communication Matrix with clear examples of the types of communication that fall into each category and how/where to communicate with each other. Consistently pinging team through instant messaging apps or texts when the subject matter is not important and urgent sets a culture of jumpiness, interrupts creativity, and reduces productivity…because it prioritizes a lack of focus on on the task at hand. I’ve established a Communication Matrix in every role I’ve held since 2013. All parties appreciate and adhere to it because they know that it goes both ways. I will not interrupt my team’s workflow if it’s not an important and urgent matter.

Furthermore, leading by example is a key component of prioritizing employee wellness. I do so by taking care of my physical and mental health, taking breaks when necessary, and fostering a culture of positivity, collaboration, and openness.

My business model is structured to offer freelance contract roles instead of W-2 direct hires. This allows the team to:

> Have a more flexible schedule
> Pay less in income taxes annually because they’re essentially business owners
> Work remotely thus not wasting personal/family time commuting back and forth to an office

This business model also allows my company to:

> Keep overhead costs as low as possible, thus pay my team more
> Build up funds to reinvest in an annual company retreat

Prioritizing not just employee wellness but family wellness is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for business. Team members need to know that when their family needs them they can be there without feeling like they’re letting anyone down at work, adding to their stress. And when employees feel valued and supported, they’re more productive, motivated, and loyal. When they know they’re a part of the family and you’ve got their back, the entire dynamic is different and better! By offering flexible work arrangements, promoting physical wellness, encouraging regular breaks, and leading by example we can all foster a culture of wellness, positivity, and productivity.