I attended the Corporate Health and Wellness conference of Knowledge Resources in Johannesburg a few weeks ago. I was also a speaker and my topic was “The Value of Sensory Intelligence for Health and Wellness in the Corporate Industry”. Here are a few interesting and valuable outcomes I would like to share with you:
- Top Fortune 500 companies spend more on health and wellness than their profit!
- Direct cost of absenteeism for South Africa seems to be around 12-19 billion per annum!
- Stress remains to be a the biggest employee wellness issue
- There is a direct correlation between employee wellness and productivity in the workplace
- A lot of emphasis was placed on health risk assessments, the cost of health, health awareness campaigns, chronic disease management, EAPs and HIV
- The value of nutrition, diet and exercise were noted
My session was based on the concept of employee wellness on the synergy between the person, the environment and the occupation/work. Performance is optimised when these 3 main components are aligned with one another. Sensory intelligence initially includes a sensory profiling process after which intervention is based at 2 main levels:
- SYNERGY between person and work: sensory self-regulation and sensory diets
- SYNERGY between person and environment: sensory ergonomics
The final SYNERGY is the responsibility of the employer to create an organisational culture of health and wellness. Final thought: health and wellness is also an employee responsibility but where organisations support this actively the individual as well as the organisation benefit.
Sensory Savvy Synergy for Wellness:
- Sensory self-regulation are strategies used daily to maintain equilibrium for the body and de-stress. Deep breathing and getting up from your chair to move around are both self-regulation strategies.
- Sensory diets are activities done outside of work to address the sensory needs of individuals and improve health and wellness. Regular exercise, sport or hobbies are all part of a sensory diet.
- Sensory ergonomics are subtle environmental changes to the environment to make it conducive for performance. Change seating away from the air conditioner, turn down ringer volume on phone, dividers between open plan office spaces is all sensory ergonomics.