Pandemonium calls for PIES Approach

Traditional corporate wellness programs tend to concentrate on physical health. This approach may have served us well in the past but the Covid 19 Pandemic forces a rethink about employee wellness at work. . Employers that only emphasize physical health are missing out on a significant benefits of going beyond the limitation of health and safety policies and embracing all the things that affect a person’s life and happiness. It’s time to consider Physical Intellectual Emotional & Spiritual (PIES) wellness.

A successful employee wellness programs connects all of the components of employee wellness. These components include physical, financial, emotional and social well-being. It is essential for employers and employees alike to understand how these different components influence one another. For example, if an employee is having difficulties with their financial affairs, they are most likely feeling the emotional and physical impacts of that as well. When one aspect of wellness is lacking, it is difficult for staff to perform their best at work.


Physical wellness is what we typically think of first when we hear the words “health” or “wellness.” It is easy to fall into this lazy thinking because we can generally see a person is not well. But of course limiting ourselves to this aspect of wellness obscures a deeper understanding of the conditions that can impact a person’s mental and spiritual wellbeing. That said our bodies take us to work and supply the energy to perform tasks so it is important for employers to do all they can to encourage exercise, healthy-eating and regular medical heath checks. 

Intellectual wellness involves providing the tools and an environment which empowers employees to keep current on issues and ideas, participate in activities that are mentally stimulating, and work on creative endeavours. Working on intellectual wellbeing allows an employee to explore issues related to problem solving, creativity, and learning, as well as spending time engaging with others. Intellectually-well people tend to be curious and interested in achieving, whether that is personally, in business or in the community. It is worth noting here that 13% of all absence days in the UK are due to mental health conditions and research shows that our mental wellbeing can seriously affect our productivity and engagement at work.

Emotional wellness can be trickier to grasp in a workplace setting, but it’s crucial that employers work at it. Emotional wellness refers to being aware and in touch with one’s emotions, thoughts and feelings. Positive emotional wellness helps support a healthy mental state and well-being. This includes stress management, emotional intelligence and positive mental health habits (like meditation or mindfulness). Without positive emotional well-being, employees aren’t able to perform or feel their best at work.

Spiritual wellness may not be something that we consider in work settings, yet its impact on life is profound. The basis of spirituality is discovering a sense of meaningfulness in life and coming to appreciate that you have a purpose to fulfil. Many factors play a part in defining spirituality – religious faith, beliefs, values, ethics, principles and morals. The human spirit is the most neglected aspect of our selves. Just as we exercise to condition our bodies, a healthy spirit is nurtured by purposeful practice. The spirit is the aspect of ourselves that can carry us through anything. If employees are empowered to take care of their spirit, we will be able to experience a sense of peace and purpose even when life deals us a severe blow. A strong spirit helps us to survive and thrive with grace, even in the face of difficulty. Employers should make room for staff to worship and allow the positive expression of faith in everyday interactions. When the going gets tough the tough get spiritual.

Helping employees achieve an holistic work-life balance means paying attention to their Physical Intellectual Emotional & Spiritual (PIES) welfare. Success can result in employees having lower risk for chronic illness, maintaining a healthy weight and preventing other issues like chronic fatigue and headaches. Achieving these outcomes for employees requires a comprehensive whole-person approach. Supporting physical, mental and spiritual wellness in the workplace creates a more productive workforce and can even help increase the lifespan of employees.


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