In December 2017, the Jo Cox Commission released a report calling for the appointment of a minister to combat social isolation and loneliness in the United Kingdom. Loneliness, the report declared, is harmful to human health, particularly among the country’s nine million elderly who say that they are “often or always lonely.”
Over the last few years, the Commission has invested in a national strategy to address what they see as an epidemic – and thus Homeshare UK was born, an organization that pairs an isolated elderly person looking for companionship with a younger person in need of low-cost housing. 95-year-old Florence and her 27-year-old student housemate are two participants – but can two people with a near 70-year age difference find commonality?
Happy Friday! We’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month and beyond for you to browse and enjoy over the weekend.
“It takes more than a discounted health club membership to move the needle on employee well-being,” begins McKinsey Quarterly’s recent reflection on wellness in the workplace. Compiling emerging trends and thoughts on well-being from researchers, corporate leaders and McKinsey experts, McKinsey’s insights suggest a rising “willingness of leaders to invest in their people” and to see wellness in a broader light than just physical health. Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute David Rock shares that “connecting people socially gets a much bigger bang for the company buck than trying to help people eat better.” But is there science to back that up?
When we think of workplace wellness, we tend to think of physical health: weight loss challenges, gym reimbursements, on-site flu vaccinations, or fitness trackers. There are clear benefits to keeping a workforce healthy and strong, like fewer sick days and lower healthcare costs. But a large research university that recently completed two Books@Work programs sees wellness in a whole new light.
Is physical health really the only factor that affects employee well-being – or is there more to wellness than we think?
Wellness initiatives are on the rise in the American workplace: according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), 72 percent of U.S. employers from 2010 to 2015 purchased services to address employees’ health risks and promote healthy lifestyle choices. It’s more and more common for companies to offer gym membership reimbursements or standing work desks – anything to keep employees healthy, well and ready to work.
And yet the many programs that encourage employees to quit smoking, to lose weight, or to get their flu shot all share a pretty glaring blind spot.