where is the “no” in your employee wellness program?

March 22, 2013

in change,life,wellness,work-life flexibility


i’m about to check out. tomorrow i leave for vacation with my family, and the timing couldn’t be better. my husband’s sick. my eldest is coping with a friend’s suicide one week ago. and i’ve been flat out getting ready for hotseat’s launch with the american heart association.

life, right?

readers of free-range may have noticed my posting has been positively anemic lately (i won’t quibble). that’s because i’ve been telling myself “no” while all this has been going down. my internal voice sounds like this:

no, researching and writing a blog post isn’t justifiable right now. 

no, you can’t keep up with the twitter stream and feed that beast right now. 

no, you can’t work until 8 or 10 pm each night and be fresh tomorrow, give the eldest what she needs, or expect your family to still love you.

all of these “nos” made sure i paid attention to what was critical (my daughter) and didn’t stretch myself so thin that i crashed and burned.

but feeling the pressure not to say no got me wondering: where is the “no” in employee wellness? where is the recognition that we need to teach people to say no? we want to teach people to eat better, to exercise more, to stress less, to smoke not at all. what about teaching them to say no? with that no, who knows, they may have time to eat better, exercise more, stress less and smoke not at all!

a crazy thought? you tell me. in roughly 24 hours i’m finding a hammock and thinking about it myself.


[image: fotogail]

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rory Trotter March 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Good post.

Anecdotally, I think many employers feel the need to do what competitors in their space are doing. So if best practice isn’t to have a “no” approach then they don’t.

I’d like to think there is some sort of empirical decision making process behind company decisions here, but my experience has been that this isn’t always the case.

Thanks for sharing, and keep writing.




fran April 1, 2013 at 7:37 am


you’re right. we know a good majority of employers aren’t measuring their results, and we also know there’s some doubt about the results from those who are. with this question about the “no” i was thinking once more about the way we define workplace wellness and whether it’s a broad enough definition.



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