how do you design for employee wellness?

April 10, 2011

in culture,speaking engagements,wellness

my good friend emily bryan wrote a wonderful post about designing penitence. she reflects:

“No matter how hard you try, you simply can’t penitent someone.  Penitence has to come from within the user as a result of the prison experience. It’s the classic learning theory challenge—along the continuum of things you can teach someone designed to elicit behavioral change (declarative knowledge, concepts, psychomotor skills, and attitudes), the most difficult outcome to achieve is a genuine change in attitude.”

in her post, emily examines how eastern state penitentiary, a philadelphia ruin that was once the great hope of the penitentiary system, was designed to inspire penitence. everything about its design and how prisoners flowed through it was specifically chosen with that end purpose in mind. ultimately, eastern state altered its design, done in by the competing forces of population increase and financial pressure.

there are interesting parallels between eastern state’s ideology and today’s approach to workplace wellness. are we designing an experience that creates a desire for and a space to achieve overall wellness? are we pulling on all the levers that might make a difference? i consider these:

  • personal
  • social
  • mobile
  • emotional
  • financial
  • environmental
  • political

how would you design the workspace, workflow and culture if it were in your hands? what services, tools and communications would you use? what would be your guiding principles and your desired end state? join the conversation here or in person at PEBA’s 29th annual forum on thursday, april 21.



Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Henry Albrecht April 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I love the post and the list. We’ve documented a related list — ‘Ways wellness must be relevant” — interesting overlap…
Benefits Ecosystem


fran April 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm

we’re so in sync. 😉

i imagine we share the same content and opinions under our different headers.



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