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Dream Believe Create is an online magazine for women entrepreneurs, creatives and change-makers. It’s for women who want to start sustainable, mission-driven businesses or creative practices without sacrificing their principles and avoiding the profit-at-any-cost / business-as-usual model that we’re all so tired of.

Wellbeing at Work: Why it Matters

Wellbeing at Work: Why it Matters

{4 minute read}

Christine Boucher is the Australian-based founder of Natural Health Balance and has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years. Christine is passionate about health and wellness, and in recent years has turned her focus from caring for chronically sick patients to helping people before they become ill. In 2013 she began the transition from intensive care nursing to entrepreneur and speaker, and is now an established corporate health coach.

As a coach, Christine is committed to supporting her clients to take back responsibility for their own wellbeing. She believes that deep down we all know what’s right for us. Sometimes we just need guidance and support to access that knowledge, to make the changes and to sustain them over the long term. In a corporate or business environment, when individual staff members make positive lifestyle and health changes, this has far-reaching benefits for their employers too.

I caught up with Christine to discuss workplace wellness, a trend that’s being embraced by both established corporates and emerging start-ups in Australia and around the world. 

Dream Believe Create: What are the key benefits of workplace wellness for both staff and management?

Christine Boucher:  There are so many benefits! For the staff, significant benefits include improved health and energy levels. This translates to fewer sick days and has a positive financial impact for the organisation or business.

Improvements in energy levels can result in things like increased productivity, which of course impacts the bottom line and enhances the profitability of the organisation.

Program participants can reduce stress too. This results in less stress leave, of course, but it’s more than that. You’ll also see improved communication, improved teamwork and increased cohesion within the organisation. This is beneficial for staff,for management and for the business overall.

Other advantages for staff are increased focus and concentration, and improved mental health. This has a significant return on investment as it results in decreased workplace injury which is very costly for organisations. When their teams are focused and really concentrating on the job at hand, there's less incidence of workplace injuries.

DBC: How do you implement a corporate wellness program for clients, and what does it look like in practice?

CB: I start with an initial assessment. I'll go into an organisation for about thirty days, and I'll assess precisely what is going on. This means I will talk with the staff, I will talk with the management team, I will talk with the health and safety team and get a really clear understanding of what their challenges are and what they want to achieve.

After I complete the assessment phase, I provide a diagnosis. I diagnose what their challenges are and using my expertise, I recommend the services I need to provide to get them through their challenges and to meet their desired outcomes.

I'll provide a report, explaining exactly what needs to be done over a twelve month period. I generally work with an organization for about twelve months, because the process takes time, especially as some of the organizations I'm working with are quite large, and there’s a multi-amount of challenges to tackle.

I then facilitate a range of my services which might include topic-specific workshops. For example, an organisation may be experiencing a lot of stress, so we'll do stress group-workshops. It can be on an individual basis, such as one on one coaching which can be really beneficial for people who are experiencing a lot of challenges. The coaching can take the form of focusing on specific wellness issues or performance coaching for management to help them communicate better with their staff and get them working together as a cohesive team, moving forward together towards the vision for the business.

I also do things like leadership health coaching. Essentially, this is about getting a leadership team within the organisation to really drive the health and wellness program. Often this is forgotten, and no one's taken responsibility to manage and oversee the program. It’s really effective to have a team invested in delivering the outcomes. 

So, there's a variety of services that I can provide, but ultimately it comes down to what each organisations’ challenges are and what they want to achieve. 

I also find that during the process, things can change. For example, there may be new staff members on board. This is why at the six-month mark, I’ll sit down with the organisation and we’ll reflect on what we've done to date, what's worked, what hasn't worked and get input from all the staff and from the management team as to the best way to move forward. 

We’ll consider whether it’s appropriate to continue with the original recommendations - is that still going to work - or do we need to change our path a little to hit the outcomes that we want to achieve?

It's a very tailor-made approach, and it's very flexible. My programs are custom designed for each individual organisation as I've found this approach to be significantly more successful in achieving outcomes, and getting returns on investment, rather than using a cookie-cutter model. One size definitely does not fit all!

DBC: How can a business owner measure the return on investment {ROI} of a wellness program?

CB: Generally, at the end of a twelve-month program, I'll write a report assessing the organisations’ return on investment. For example, I recently finished a program with a car company, and they achieved a tenfold return on their investment, which is fantastic.

Much of that was linked to reduced staff turnover. Did you know that every time an organisation loses a staff member, it costs the organisation around AUD$65,000? As a direct result of the wellness program, staff increased their happiness in the workplace, and as a result, turnover decreased significantly.

The average return on investment is about threefold according to the research data, but I don't think I've ever achieved under six so, I get an excellent return for my client’s investment.

Sometimes, however, results are harder to measure and are not so quantifiable. For example, while it's easy to measure many changes when it comes to health coaching – as typically they’re basic, logical measurements - the changes to someone's mindset are more difficult to assess. Some ways of quantifying this include looking at improvements in rates of staff turnover, sick leave, stress leave and workers compensation claims.

DBC: What do you love most about your work?

CB: Impacting on people in a positive way!

My work also has a flow-on effect. I often hear my workplace clients remarking on how they’re sharing their new knowledge and habits at home. That’s good for their families, it’s good for their organisation, and it's good for the community at large.

CONTACTS + CREDITS:

If you’d like to find out more about corporate wellness or connect with Christine, you’ll find her contact details at www.naturalhealthbalance.com.au

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