DAYSPA Takes Part in the Global Wellness Institute’s Workplace Wellness Event

DAYSPA contributing editor Lisa Starr attended the Global Wellness Institute roundtable event in New York City to learn how today’s evolving workplace can benefit the spa industry.

GWI chairman and CEO Susie Ellis (right) and Wisdom Works CEO Renee Moorefield, Ph.D. hold court at their roundtable event.GWI chairman and CEO Susie Ellis (right) and Wisdom Works CEO Renee Moorefield, Ph.D. hold court at their roundtable event.

GWI chairman and CEO Susie Ellis (right) and Wisdom Works CEO Renee Moorefield, Ph.D. hold court at their roundtable event.

As the concept of wellness expands to encompass more of people’s lives, the prospects for the involvement of spas—and its ride-along marketing opportunities—also continue to grow. But opportunities aren’t always obvious, and such is the case with the current push toward workplace wellness. Because we spend so much of our everyday lives working, it makes sense that approaching wellness through the workplace lens might be a very effective way to reach the masses.

Hence, a recent roundtable hosted on July 15 by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) and co-moderated by GWI chairman and CEO Susie Ellis and Renee Moorefield, Ph.D., CEO of Wisdom Works, which guides Fortune 500 companies in cultivating wellbeing leadership strategies. Moorefield is also one of the co-leaders of the GWI’s Ministry of Wellness initiative, dedicated to creating a framework for making individual wellbeing a global priority.

The two dozen leaders who convened at the event to discuss and explore the topic of wellness in the workplace represented a wide variety of industries and companies from inside and outside the U.S.: Johnson & Johnson, the Cleveland Clinic, Macy’s, Weight Watchers, Everyday Health, Citi, Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Global Initiative, to name a few. The workplace trends they discussed have potentially massive implications for the wellness industry. —Lisa Starr

A Changing Work Model

According to roundtable participants, our evolving work landscape can be broken down into some key wellness-related changes:

  • The proportion of people who work remotely is increasing and, although some of these workers have purpose-built office spaces, many of them work from a “home office” that isn’t originally intended for this purpose and often fails to support proper ergonomics.
  • Working from home tends to create a porous work/home boundary, which can add to daily stress levels.
  • Toiling alone at home for long hours, even if it involves connecting to colleagues via technology, lacks the collegial environment of the traditional workplace.
  • Some future workplace factors are generational. Millennials value flexibility as well as health and wellbeing, and work doesn’t always play a central role in their lives. As that generation ages into its 30s and 40s and Baby Boomers retire, we’ll see increased fragmenting of positions: people will work fewer hours per week, and many positions will be shared. Meanwhile, the senior wisdom group will migrate in and out of the workplace later in life, creating a wide age representation in the workforce.
  • The basic work hierarchy is changing, with the paternalistic, top-down model giving way to a Holacracy, trademarked business model, in which access to technology provides more transparency and we see increased sensitivity to diversity and gender issues.

Most believe that future corporate leaders will have to be onboard with wellness to be successful. Companies will bear the responsibility of creating healthy workplaces, both in environment and practices. (For example, some large companies now temporarily shut down email accounts for vacationing employees, enforcing their break.) We’ll see more employers providing wellness benefits such as visits to spas, fitness memberships, juice bars, yoga facilities and even spa retail products.

Although corporate leaders are still looking at workplace wellness benefits in terms of cost ROI, the focus will shift to the benefits, such as increased employee retention and productivity. In kind, employees’ expectations will gravitate toward that of health support in the workplace, as opposed to that of working oneself to death.

Translating the Trends

So where do spas and wellness businesses fit in? Clearly, the trends above can be capitalized on with programming design and even a reoriented approach to the spa business model as well as outreach to the local corporate marketplace. Certainly there will be more demand for in-spa corporate meetings and retreats that take place in spa and wellness settings and incorporate nurturing self-care, time for mindfulness and healthy nutrition. Spas can reach out to local employers to explore ways to work together and meet each other’s needs. Perhaps a local company would be interested in taking over the spa on a slow or closed Sunday or Monday, once monthly, for programming specific to the needs of their workforce.

As for the changing worker, services and treatments that focus on long-term health and wellness could be integrated into a spa menu, or introduced as seasonal offerings. And
the social isolation generated by working remotely can be addressed by a neighborhood spa that serves as a community hub, sponsoring lectures, events and meet-up groups.

The GWI looks forward to continuing its research and discussion on this all-important issue—in fact Workplace Wellness is the topic of GWI-sponsored 2015 research, which will be shared at the Global Wellness Summit in Mexico City in November. “Our proprietary research, our deep experience in the wellness arena and our global culture all put us in the driver’s seat of an industry with unprecedented momentum and potential,” noted Ellis.

More in Home