Holistic Well-being – It’s Good Business

177698593People are at the core of every business. That’s why it’s so important for companies to take care of their employees and support them in leading their healthiest, most fulfilling lives—both in and out of the workplace.

That’s no small task. Modern life has us on-the-go and plugged in 24/7. We’re eating poorly because it’s easier to grab fast food than cook a healthy meal after a long day. Blurred lines between work and home life mean we’re checking emails, scanning news, and social networking instead of turning in early for a good night’s sleep.

Beyond the Treadmill

Fortunately, employers are catching on and taking a more holistic approach to workplace well-being programs. More than 78 percent of employers are expanding beyond physical wellness to include broader areas of well-being, like financial wellness and mental health, our recent survey released in conjunction with Employee Wellbeing Month found. That’s a trend in the right direction.

Last week, the Washington Post highlighted how some companies are approaching well-being programs. The article does a great job outlining the importance of supporting well-being through things like on-site fitness classes and flexible work arrangements, but companies need to do more to support the whole person that comes to work each day.

Providing resources that support all aspects of employee well-being creates a workforce of engaged, enthusiastic people who are passionate about their work and drive meaningful business results. Did you know that employees who get enough sleep gain 2.5 hours of workday productivity? Yep, it’s true. Encourage employees to cut out afternoon caffeine and put down their devices in the evening as simple ways to improve sleep habits. You’ll find that better sleep is not only good for your workforce but it’s good for your business, too.

A Different Take on ROI

It can be hard to measure the ROI of wellness programs, and that’s why it’s key to create well-being programs that don’t focus solely on healthcare cost savings as a measure of success. Instead, include them in a broader view of impact– one that looks at employee engagement, productivity, and culture measures. These are all part of the top line outcomes employers can see as a result of effective well-being programs.

The ROI of wellness programs may not always easily be calculated in short-term dollars and cents, but their value can be seen across the business. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of employees say that health habits impact their ability to focus on the job. We also know that happy, healthy employees are more engaged at work and in their personal lives. Companies with engaged employees have 48 percent fewer safety incidents and 41 percent fewer quality incidents, according to Gallup. And engaged employees are 21 percent more productive and take 37 percent fewer sick days—all factors that ultimately drive your business.

Leading employers recognize that nurturing well-being and helping employees replenish are important components of a thriving organization. The investment in supporting habits that matter will be returned through a more energetic, focused workforce that feels valued and loves coming to work. And we believe that if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your business.

Kerry Bryant is Senior Public Relations and Social Media Manager at Virgin Pulse, where she develops and tells stories about health and well-being. She believes in the power of small, healthy steps to become habits that matter and ultimately change lives. In her spare time, Kerry can be found planning her next travel adventure or nose-deep in a book at the beach. Follow her on Twitter: @kez_bryant

Virgin Pulse a Best Place to Work in Boston

img_gs174433043_06182015_174433043We’re excited to share that last week, we were recognized by the Boston Business Journal as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Massachusetts for the second year in a row. The honor highlights our achievements in creating a work environment that attracts and retains top talent.

“The whole team at Virgin Pulse is deeply committed to working with companies and helping them replenish their people with tools that help them build habits that matter,” said our CEO, Chris Boyce. “Our team’s honored to once again be recognized by Boston Business Journal as a ‘Best Place to Work’ and to be among a distinguished group of companies who believe in putting their people first. It’s what we do, it’s who we are, and we’re thrilled to once again be recognized for walking the talk.”

Our company uses business as a force for good, making a positive difference in the world by helping people get healthier, and our employees feel connected to this cause. It has a big impact on our culture, helping us create an enthusiastic, supportive environment where people are open to new, innovative ideas. Without fail, our new hires mention that helping solve the global challenge of keeping people healthy and engaged at work and in life played a big part in their decision to work at Virgin Pulse – and it’s also why our most tenured employees say they’ve stuck around for so long.

We know our employees have a lot on their plates, both when they’re in the office and when they’re home. To help our people manage all of stressors, at Virgin Pulse we offer robust health and well-being benefits. Our unique office space (including two on-site gyms, a locker room, free and company-subsidized healthy snacks and meals, walking desks, and free fitness classes) and our generous benefits package (including flexible work arrangements, medical, dental, and vision coverage, short- and long-term care and disability coverage, life insurance, an EAP program, generous PTO and holidays) make getting and staying healthy a whole lot easier than going it alone. Our employees also have access to the same well-being platform we offer our clients, letting them earn cash rewards and discounts for participating and hitting certain milestones.

Virgin Pulse was one of more than 400 companies to qualify for consideration based on a two-stage nomination process and the results of employee-satisfaction surveys taken throughout March and April 2015.

Want to know what’s behind creating a best place to work? Listen to this on-demand webinar to hear our secrets and top tips for driving an award-winning culture at your company.

Kaite Rosa is Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Virgin Pulse, where she leverages her personal passion for health and happiness to create compelling content about employee well-being and engagement. Outside of the office, Kaite spends her time mentoring a high school student, and recently trained for and completed her first half marathon. Follow her on Twitter: @kaiterosa.

4 Nutrition Myths Holding Back Employees

Have you heard about the diet where all you eat is pizza? You know, the one that gives you lower cholesterol and a superhuman immune system?


OK, so that one’s a myth – though not for a lack of wistful thinking on my part. What’s true, however, is that new nutritional trends seem to crop up every few months claiming to be the surefire nutrition path you need to follow to lose weight and be healthy.

Unfortunately, this constant influx of information gets jumbled, halfway understood, and taken to extremes along the way before ultimately being abandoned for the next big thing. This leads many employees who are trying to practice healthier eating habits to rely on nutrition myths they never intended on holding true to in the first place.

Don’t sweat it, because we’ve debunked four major myths so you can help your employees get back on track to reaching those goals they’ve set out for themselves.


The confusion behind this myth traces back to one fact: not all fats are created equal. The original myth claims that if you eat fats, you will be fat.

Olive oil ThinkstockPhotos-457087057

To lose weight, we’ve all heard that you need to burn more calories than you take in. And since fats are high in calories, it’s true that left unchecked they can lead to weight gain. But it’s more the calorie totals and kinds of fats that are to blame.

Healthy fats – found in foods like walnuts and fish, and oils like olive oil and safflower oil – are essential to your employees’ health. They’ll help regulate insulin levels, decrease the risk of type II diabetes, and lower blood pressure. Saturated and trans fats, however, raise those unwanted cholesterol levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Let reluctant employees know that the right choice in fats can be a nutritious one.


What has 27 grams of carbs (between eight to 10 percent of your recommended daily value) must be a poor nutrition choice, right? In this case, the food I’m talking about happens to be a banana. Yes, the potassium-rich fruit that no one would warn you leads to weight gain unless eaten in great excess.

Oatmeal  ThinkstockPhotos-463134239

We know carbs are fuel for the body’s fire, but what matters most is the kind of carbs we toss into those flames. Studies show that refined and highly processed carbs – like potato chips, white bread, and pasta – are the link to weight gain, not the carbs from healthy powerhouses like bananas.

Employees who understand this myth and work it into their nutritional goals, reaching for fruits and veggies over that savory slice of pizza, also benefit from a lowered risk of type II diabetes and coronary artery disease.

Relieve worried employees counting carbs by stocking the cafeteria with plenty of the healthy carb options.


The gluten-free craze is still in full swing, vilifying everything with grains in it. But going gluten-free alone doesn’t necessarily mean better health.


If you have celiac disease – a genetic autoimmune disease of the small intestine that affects roughly 1 in 130 people, a little over one percent of the US population – then you have little choice but to have it out for gluten. Some with gluten sensitivity should also limit their intake. These employees would benefit from grain noshing options like quinoa, buckwheat, or millet that are naturally gluten-free and nutritional.

However, for the rest of the population, the human body is equipped to process gluten just fine. In moderation, eating whole grains rich in gluten is recommended by the USDA. Whole grains provide your employees with dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals.

Include all employees by offering gluten free options for the occasional celebratory treat like cupcakes or pastries for those who need it. Otherwise, tell everyone else they can dig in, guilt-free.


Here’s the myth: grazing on small meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism redlining, which in turn burns more calories and sheds a few pounds in the process.


However studies vehemently disagree with that myth. In fact, the old standby of 3 meals a day has the same effect as the trendier 5+ smaller meals throughout the day.

For employees regulating blood sugar, frequent small meals throughout the day can be essential. But for those trying to steady pangs of hunger springing up throughout their workday? Sure, more frequent small meals may ward off rumbling stomachs, but the opposite of those best intentions could happen. An uptick in meals throughout the day has been shown to pack on liver and abdominal fat in high calorie diets.

Remind employees to keep it simple: eat when you feel hungry and stop when you’re full.

Looking for more ways to eat healthy in the workplace? Check out our ebook to learn how.

M. R. Brown writes content for the marketing team at Virgin Pulse. He looks to dispense his know-how on well-being to help get employees and employers alike engaged in healthy workplaces. You can find him running trails on weekends, endlessly motivated by the thought of being chased by a wolf. Follow him on Twitter @writermrbrown.