In any given year, cold weather dwellers spend the month of March wondering out loud: When will spring come? In recent years, these conversations have often become more complex as people yearn for warm days to spend outside while, simultaneously, worrying about an increasingly unstable climate.
This spring CIC encourages its members and staff to move, go outside, and foster environmentally sustainable habits through an integrated employee wellness experience. In a company-wide sustainability challenge, CIC campuses in the United States and Europe will compete against each other to rack up points based on distance covered through physical activity and completion of various sustainability tasks.
In anticipation of the CIC Sustainability Challenge, running for one month starting in mid-April, we sat down with Ashley Hopkins, Director of Wellness Program Success at Wellable, to discuss the intersection of wellness and sustainability, and why they believe in the power of the workplace to inspire change.
CIC: Can you share the inspiration behind your company?
AH: Wellable is an impact-driven business that was built from a desire to improve the employee wellness experience. In an effort to help companies offer meaningful wellness benefits that encourage employees to live healthier lives, Wellable empowers organizations to launch effective programs that drive sustainable engagement that aligns with their culture, values, and business goals.
CIC: Though your mission centers around wellness, you’ve designed a sustainability-oriented challenge for CIC this spring. What is the link between wellness and sustainability?
AH: By definition, wellness is the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. Since the goal of sustainability is to create and maintain an environment where humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, sustainability can be viewed as a state of “wellness” for the environment. Just as one makes efforts and practices daily habits to achieve their personal health and well-being goals, a variety of thoughtful actions can be incorporated to a wellness routine to effect positive global change, prevent harm to the environment, and strive for long-term ecological balance.
CIC: Why focus on the employee experience? What do you see as the role of the workplace in promoting more sustainable lifestyles?
AH: On average, full-time employees spend 8.56 hours working each day of the work week, with many logging considerably longer work days. When such a significant amount of time is spent at work, the attitude and environment of the workplace can become highly influential in promoting sustainable lifestyles. The habits learned and encouraged at the workplace can then reach beyond and impact personal practices, which supports an overall sustainable lifestyle.
CIC: What’s your take on the role of individual versus collective solutions to health and environmental challenges?
AH: Just as an organization’s culture of wellness can be impacted and shaped on an individual level, the same is true for addressing environmental challenges and effecting positive global change. To encourage individuals to take positive steps related to their personal health and that of the environment, organizations have to build and promote a culture that celebrates and supports those values.
Supportive leadership is key for creating and maintaining this type of culture, which can help enact positive change on both the individual and collective level. When an organization’s leadership inspires and promotes its individuals to living a healthier, more sustainable life, those individuals, in turn, inspire each other and work together to achieve the common goals of the collective.
CIC: Let’s talk technology. How do you view the potential of new tech to advance sustainability?
AH: Since living healthfully and sustainably often involve the same behaviors—biking to work, for example—wellness challenge technology can allow organizations to promote initiatives like sustainability across a distributed and diverse workforce. Wellable embraces the BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) movement, which further empowers employees to participate by using their own preferred technologies, like a wearable device or smartphone app. This results in higher and more sustained engagement in programs that promote sustainability through personalization and choice.
Want to learn more about the wellness offerings built into our innovation campuses? We’d love to show you around!