Category • Workplace wellness

‘Preventing the cut, not dressing the wound’ - it's time for holistic health in the workplace

Ollie Poole | March 13, 2024

We’re exhausted. Levels of burnout have exploded. And the UK workforce is existing in a pressure-cooker of stress. Within this, businesses have offered ‘workplace wellness initiatives’ to help their teams cool off. These include mindfulness apps, discounted gym memberships, yoga classes, and healthy food and drink offerings.

But are business leaders missing the point here? By dressing the wound, rather than preventing the cut; by targeting the stressors, rather than the source?


The problem with workplace wellness initiatives

empty gymImage by @good_citizen via Unsplash Images

Unless hand-in-hand with a positive company culture, workplace wellbeing initiatives can feel more like a tick-box exercise than a genuine, holistic attempt to nourish people’s spiritual, mental and physical health.

Fitness classes. Mental health apps. Team Days. They can all add a spring to our step – guaranteed – but often the kick ends there. Stressful and toxic workplace cultures remain unchanged. For example, I may return from a fitness class energised, but there’s still unclear communication on a project that’s consequently overworking me. The ticking work clock has run ahead, my colleagues have thrown heated messages into my inbox – and I feel a rushed panic to catch up.

Sound familiar? In cultures like this, office wellness initiatives feel like an optional extras that bring temporary relief, at best. In contrast: workplace culture leader and burnout expert, Jennifer Moss, forecasts a better way.


Jennifer Moss – Author of The Burnout Epidemic

‘When we aren’t giving people space to focus on self-care then it just ends up being another task for employees to add into their already busy days. Instead of trying to put bandaids on broken systems, let’s transform the system instead.’ (Quoted in Fortune Well)


A path to holistic health and wellbeing in the workplace

David Kiss and Amy Elvin at FreshGround

Businesses need to start from the beginning by ensuring their workplace cultures don’t breed stress. By pruning the soil and planting the seeds for a positive workplace culture, you can promote holistic health across your teams.

We suggest creating an open forum where people can communicate with clarity, openness and positivity. It’s crucial every employee considers their work meaningful and has the opportunity to learn and grow. They must also feel valued – helped by office perks like exceptional coffee, regular check-ins, work schedule flexibility, holiday and bonuses.


The recipe for genuine employee care

Instead of squashing symptoms of toxicity and throwing a blanket over deeper issues, workplace wellness initiatives are meaningful when existing within in an already positive workplace culture. Both combined births a holistic care approach that nurtures employee wellbeing – and increases happiness, feelings of self-worth, belonging and motivation. For example, employees can cherish a yoga class without fearing the stresses that await them back at their desks due to the ‘lost’ time. The difference is transformative.

More on workplace and office wellbeing:

· Mindfulness at work starts with coffee

· The real reasons why your team won’t return to office

· Happiness is hot coffee in the morning


Get in touch

Chat to us on 020 7553 7900 (or book your Zoom call via to discuss your workplace needs. And let’s work together to inspire value your teams and inspire holistic health in your workplace.