Book Review: Surviving Workplace Wellness with Your Dignity, Finances and (Major) Organs Intact
I’m not sure that I survived Surviving Workplace Wellness with Your Dignity, Finances and (Major) Organs Intact with my major organs intact, since I think I busted a gut laughing at just the title! Al Lewis and Vik Khanna take you through a funny, yet devastatingly frightening, tour of the mismanagement of many workplace wellness programs. While the design may be well-intentioned, some workplace wellness programs not only under-deliver, but can be downright harmful and detrimental. Most of the case studies are from the U.S., and so the technical and legislative details won’t apply in Canada, but there are many cautionary tales here, especially for larger employers that might be considering adding things like blood testing, cholesterol screening and mandatory weigh-ins to their “wellness” programs.
Of course, there may be a business model behind all of this — if employees are physically healthy, then there are likely to be fewer sick days, lower insurance premiums, higher productivity and so on. However, as with anything else that gets managed strictly by numbers, the details don’t add up and eventually the programs become unwieldy and illogical. A topic that this book doesn’t fully address is the researched fact that wellness programs that focus only on physical well-being actually don’t help productivity much at all. If you are part of your employer’s workplace wellness program, read this book to ensure that you don’t go down the wrong path, and then check out other ways of being well — a few treadmills may not hurt, but they may not help much either.