is a cultural field trip an employee wellness activity?

July 11, 2012

in culture,wellness

this weekend a friend asked me whether trips to cultural institutions should qualify as a wellness activity. she asked because her company’s benefits partner included it on a planning questionnaire. sure, i said. why not? if it’s an activity that enhances someone’s sense of well-being, improves work interactions, stimulates the mind—shouldn’t it count?

then i went on to say that most employers want wellness activities they can directly tie to lowered health care costs. it’s kind of tough to connect a museum field trip to lower medical cost trend.

this conversation got me thinking about the boundaries of wellness. what’s in? what’s out?

some companies see a connection between giving employees a free pair of sneakers or a bike and improved well-being. some companies know that a bean bag lounge or a trip to a trampoline park can relieve stress. others value shaking it on the dance floor for an hour.

can a strong argument be made for being in bounds or out of bounds? absolutely. culture’s a huge influence. desired messaging, too. no company should include a wellness activity that feels false to their culture and messaging—unless that activity helps shift both in a way they desire.

where would your company fall? what would be out of bounds? what do you wish were in bounds?


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Leah O'Neill July 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

This is an interesting question. I think it depends on how the company defines wellness for their organization and what their expectations are for the programs (whether a direct ROI, or something more intangible).

Wellness can encompass such a wide area, from the obvious fitness, nutrition, and mental health perspective, to more abstract areas such as supporting the environment, volunteering and community giving, personal financial education, or culture awareness programs. It can be difficult to measure ROI on a ‘pick-up-community-garbage-day’ event or a personal finances seminar. However, these can certainly bring significant returns in building company culture and wellbeing through these activities.

Interesting post to think about!


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