#001 – Welcome to the Working Well Podcast – The Inaugural Episode!

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Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the “Working Well Podcast.” I’m Tim Borys, CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. 

If you are a corporate leader looking to improve your life at work and home, you’re in the right place. 

Contrary to popular belief:

  • Work doesn’t have to suck.
    • It can be fun, exciting, and rewarding
  • To be successful at work, you don’t have to sacrifice your health, sanity, or family time!
    • In fact, being healthy, happy, and getting away from work on a regular basis is a major factor in long term professional success
  • Finally, workplace health and wellness isn’t simply a box to tick on some corporate checklist. As an organization, it’s not enough to run a few health-related lunch and learns or stress management programs and say you have a “wellness program”
    • Workplace wellness is a diverse and customizable combination of strategies, policies, programs, and services that clearly map back to corporate values and are tracked through key metrics.

This podcast was created to delve into what it takes to work well. We will cover a wide range of topics including health, well-being, and performance at the personal, professional, and organizational level.

Whether you are a C-level executive, mid-level manager, or new corporate professional, this show was designed to help you raise your game at home and the office. If you want to get more of the right things done, avoid burnout and actually enjoy your time on this planet…including when you are at work, keep listening.

Join me each week for practical tips, advice, expert interviews, and conversations with special guests. Once again, the goal is to help you look, feel, live, and perform at your best each day whether you are at home or the office.

Stick around, we have lots of great topics in store for you.

For this inaugural episode, we are going to discuss the opportunities, issues, and frustrations that led me to the field of corporate wellness and ultimately to start this podcast.

Let me know how if any of these circumstances resonate with your experience.

It all started over 30 years ago. At the time I was playing sports at an elite level, coaching younger athletes, and working my way through high school.

Even as a pimply-faced teenager, I clearly saw the clear positive link between consistent physical and mental training, being challenged to learn and improve, and the impact that teams and coaching could have on a person’s performance and success.

Of course, at that point, I didn’t understand the science behind it but led me to University where I dove headfirst into Psychology, Kinesiology, and the fitness industry.

After getting my degree, I settled into the fitness industry as a personal trainer and athletic performance coach.

As it turned out, most of my clients ended up being corporate professionals who came to me to “get fit and lose weight”.

Even after 30 years, these are still the top two goals that people have when going to the gym or hiring a trainer.

It didn’t take me long into my career to realize that my efforts as a personal trainer in the gym could only make a small dent in their health and wellness.

In some cases, the traditional fitness approach made things worse.

Since that time, I’ve personally worked with thousands of corporate professionals and dozens of companies, and things are positively changing.

The issue is that the change has been too slow. 

Society is continuing to get more stressed, scattered, burnt out from work, and yet employees are having more thrown on their plate, particularly 

We just have to look at the number to see how bad things are:

  • 80% of people in the past year have experienced mental health challenges (up from 20% prior to the pandemic)
  • 4 of the top 5 leading causes of death are “lifestyle diseases” and largely preventable
  • 2 out of 3 people in North America are overweight or obese
  • Simple lifestyle interventions can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes by 80% and risk of cancer by 40%.

The great news is that from an employee and corporate perspective, EACH of these areas are directly within our control.

At the fundamental level, every individual is responsible for their own attitude, actions, and outcomes in life.

However, I believe it’s irresponsible and bad business for companies to expect employees to manage these conditions and challenges on their own.

Employees spend over half their waking hours at work, and based on the stats, probably some of the non-waking ones!

Helping employees be healthier, happier, and perform better is not only good business, but it’s just the right thing to do.

This is usually where the chorus of voices in HR and leadership begin saying…

Wait…we are different. We already have a wellness program in place:

  • Employees have access to resources through our EFAP plan.
  • We provide a variety of programs each year on nutrition, stress, stopping smoking, etc.

Those can be great tools in the wellness toolbox…if people use them. 

However, I can guarantee that in most companies, the utilization rate is extremely low. There are many reasons for this that we will cover in more detail in future episodes and with some of our special guests, but they include:

  • Poor clarity on what wellness actually is, and what it means to individuals and organizations
  • Lack of buy-in and accountability from the C-Suite
  • Non-existent strategy and metrics
  • Plus, flat out boring and disengaging programming options

The fact is, what companies are doing isn’t working and a new approach is needed.

For years, I’ve worked with companies to help them implement wellness strategies and initiatives. The #1 challenge my team and I faced is that HR and the C-suite view wellness differently. I would even argue that until the past year, wellness wasn’t even a passing thought on the minds of most C-level executives.

Yet, over 70% of companies say they offer a wellness plan to employees.

Many even say that employee health and well-being an important part of their values

Unfortunately, in most of these organizations, some poor HR associate or office manager is tasked with trying to put a wellness program together in their spare time with little guidance, budget, or assistance from another other than a few volunteer committee members.

Sure, the company technically has a wellness program and is able to tick off that box on the marketing and recruiting brochure. However, rarely do these programs work.

Due to the reasons listed above, even many large organizations with thousands of employees fail to see lasting positive results from their programs.

I see this as an exciting opportunity!

Stats overwhelmingly show that employees want health and wellness programs at work

Companies say it’s important to them

The stats show that these programs are seriously needed

The stats also show that workplace wellness programs provide exceptional returns for both employees and the company.

The missing piece is simply to tie it all together

Each company must develop a strategy about wellness in their organization.

Put a plan in place, and then implement the programs that provide the greatest benefit to people and the business.

Few companies take the time to do this.

This podcast is dedicated to helping to help people and businesses thrive.

Each week we will strive to provide the knowledge, tools, and resources needed to live a healthier happier life and make work an awesome place to be (or at least to suck a lot less).

As corporate leaders, you will be able to use these strategies to make a positive impact on your company!

Before we wrap up, here are some stats that paint a picture of both the challenge and opportunity in front of us:

    • 70% of an organization’s benefits costs come from six disease categories (cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, respiratory, digestive, cancer, stress). All of these conditions are preventable or modifiable through behavioural changes.
  • From an employer’s standpoint, when employees suffer from chronic diseases, both productivity and opportunities are lost in terms of:
      • increased employee absenteeism;
      • increased disability;
      • increased accidents;
      • reduced workplace effectiveness; and
      • negative impacts on work quality or customer service
  • Obese employees are absent on average 13 times more than non-obese employees and incur almost 7 times more the medical claims costs
      • Ostbye et. al, Archives of Internal Medicine, “Obesity and Workers’ Compensation – Results from the Duke Health and Safety Surveillance System”, April 2007
  • Smokers cost employers an additional $3,396 due to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity and the costs of smoking facilities
      • The Conference Board of Canada, “Smoking and the Bottomline: Updating the Costs of Smoking in the Workplace”, 2006
  • Employees who experience high-stress cost employers almost 50 percent more in health expenditures, while stress-related absenteeism accounts for billions of extra costs to Canadian companies each year ($3.5 billion in 1998)
      • Watt, Verna, Flynn, Canadian Medical Association Journal, “Wellness Programs: A Review of the Evidence”, Vol. 158, 1998
  • FINANCIAL IMPACT of Effective Workplace Wellness Programs
    • 11 percent higher revenue per employee12
    • 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year12
    • 28 percent higher shareholder returns12
    • For every $1.00 spent on wellness programs, medical costs fall by about $3.27 and absenteeism costs fall about $2.7314

If that’s not fuel for overhauling your wellness strategy, I’m not sure what is. 

That a wrap for today.

I would love to hear your thoughts, feedback and questions, including topics or guests you would like to see featured on future episodes.

Feel free to message us or email podcast@freshgroup.ca 

Of course, please share this podcast with your friends and colleagues, and remember to subscribe to the latest episodes are delivered directly to you as soon as they are released.

Have an amazing day.

I’m Tim Borys

You’ve been listening to The Working Well podcast.





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