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Wellness Works

In November 1979, primetime American broadcaster, Dan Rather, made an auspicious statement on his 60 minutes show: “Wellness. Now there’s a phrase you don't hear everyday. And listen folks, you probably won’t!”

By
Chris Connors
Date
23.08.18

Well, some 40 Years later you’d probably agree that Dan Rather would have to eat his words not to mention his kale and avocado salad, because not only are we all buying and downloading wellness every day through life-enhancing products and experiences, but we have declared that wellness is the new (and you could argue true) measurement of a successful life.

Just login to your day and wellness choices will pop up all around you. From the rise of health&wellness apps to the plant-based choices on the High St, the £3.5trillion global wellness economy has become a huge consumer revolution and potent global business opportunity. Consumers are increasingly seeking products and experiences that promote well-being and healthy habits, with modern-day “wellness” generally referring to holistic healthy living characterized by physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.

Star brands such as meditation app Headspace (31 million app downloads), Lulu Lemon, Apple Watch and lifestyle brand Goop are promoting wellness in sectors ranging from mental health to diet to fitness and beauty, and more. Meanwhile, corporates across multiple industries are launching wellness-focused initiatives to keep up with the movement. This is no trend, it’s an evolution.

Jason Wachob, the Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen, the leading independent media company dedicated to health and happiness with 15 million monthly unique visitors, redefines successful living and offers readers a new life currency to build on. One that is steeped in wellbeing as the measurement of success. He terms it ‘Wellth’.

“Many of us aren’t satisfied with just trying to accumulate the most money and toys. The good life is no longer just about the material—instead, it can be found in a lifestyle that is devoted to mental, physical, and emotional health. A ‘wellthy’ existence is one in which happiness is attainable, health is paramount, and daily living is about abundance”

Welcome to the Age of Wellness. So, what is this wellness phenomenon that we seem to be entering into? And how did this age come about from the bygone days of Dan Rather?

Well, in Dan’s time, and for a good few decades after, our state of health and wellness was generally measured by the odd visit to the GP who, let’s face it, wasn’t always an embodiment of health and happiness. We had no other way to really measure of our health except to listen (or not) to our body trying to tell us something. On paper, you were probably considered ‘well’ until you felt so unwell you needed to go to the GP for some kind of treatment. And quite often the treatment would address the symptoms but not the cause.

Healthy smart environments not only look good, they make us feel good.

At that time many wellness practices were seen as ‘alternative’ and dismissed as ineffective. In truth, there just wasn’t the scientific evidence to prove them; a position that has since changed dramatically. The emergence of scientific breakthroughs (especially neuroscience) to support wellness claims, coupled with an emerging digital paradigm, has meant that we are now sharing knowledge, shifting perspectives and transforming beliefs about our health. Advanced brain, heart and gut science have become the forerunners supporting this new understanding.

Wellness today is rooted in self-awareness, physical performance, life resilience and personal fulfilment. A kind of YinYang balance. A confluence of Eastern practices (think yoga, meditation, acupuncture etc.) and Western desires to upgrade our life through physical performance and image, eating consciously and a need for personal development (therapeutic or other) and, of course, sometimes we have treat our unwell body through the medical system when necessary. Harvard’s centre for wellness and health promotion, has defined wellness as ‘a dynamic and fluid continuum influenced by 8 interconnected dimensions; Mental, Physical, Emotional, Relational, Financial, Vocational, Environmental and Spiritual. The challenge for each of us, is to find a personal balance within these dimensions and prevent a life of dis-ease and disease.

Why have we hit this moment now? There are three major factors contributing to today’s rise in wellness:

STRESS

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. This mental, physical, emotional phenomenon has crept into every corner of our daily life. Stress is a complex entity that cannot really be treated in any one way, hence why the medical system can’t fix it alone.

The wellness industry achieves 12% year on year growth because it is driven to combat stress. As long as stress hangs around, the wellness industry will keep continuing to promote solutions to combat it. Some more successfully than others.

THE MILLENNIAL EFFECT

The millennial’s influence on wellness is probably the biggest accelerator for wellness. Millennials (and increasingly Gen Z) are the greatest wellness consumers, innovators and entrepreneurs in equal measure. Not only powering the wellness industry with innovative conscious products, services and experiences but introducing a constant flow of wellness intelligence like tracking, measurability functions, well-tech immersions and wellness social platforms. This ‘modern conscious’ generation are not afraid to show off their might in wellness consumption and place it as a central factor of their lifestyle. They don’t want to be shown the hotel basement wellness centre, they are their own wellness centre!

THE RISE IN WORKPLACE WELLNESS

The powerhouse of stress incubation AKA ‘the office’, is witnessing an inner revolution and finally awakening to the needs of its users, i.e. most of humanity. Workplace wellness is predicted to be one of the greatest wellness growth areas in the next decade. The breakdown of the office concept, thanks in part to the co-working phenomenon, has provided flexibility and innovation for many business leaders. Like the integration of sustainability in most business practices, wellness is already becoming the go-to for any forward thinking, smart CEO who wants to retain a highly performing organisation and at the same time build a greater values-based business – the holy grail of any modern leader. Today, if you don’t have a workplace wellness strategy in place you risk becoming the Dan Rather of your industry – out of touch and wondering why you have abnormally high rates of absenteeism and presenteeism with no solutions.

Forget thinking about wellness as an ‘out of working hours’ idea. Wellness solutions are needed real time and in the moment. They need to be integrated into a full working day in the form of healthy environments, personal programs and protective policies. These solutions are not just doing good, they mean good business, measured directly with a comprehensive ROI and VOI.

Healthy environments and buildings designed for human health are set to become the norm over the next decade. This future has been mapped out and championed by wellness pioneers such as Delos, who are ‘guided by the mission to serve as the world’s leading catalyst for health and wellness in the environments where we live, work, sleep and play’ and they do this through their in depth research and evidence based standards.

Delos are elevating human health and comfort to the forefront of building practices and more recently their Well Building certification has become the human sustainability standard just as Breeam has become so for planetary sustainability standard.

London’s own 22 Bishopsgate has stepped up to lead the workplace wellness trail with both certifications – good for people, good for planet. London’s first certified well-building will be a trailblazer for this growing trend. 22 Bishopsgate believes that health and wellness are key factors in performance and success drivers for every one of the businesses benefitting from its key features. This building wants you to BE well as much as DO well in life. Something every performance focused CEO should take note of. This is a new precedent set in London.

Three-meter-high floors and full natural circadian light, low iron glazing and the most advanced air and water purification systems around, means that this is a building meets foundational requirements to live well at work.

22 Bishopsgate also wants you to move around in it and enjoy all it has to offer – it will feel open and welcoming to match its high spec certified credentials. Yet it also supports that the culture of productive work does not just happen when you are ‘on’, powering through exhaustion and stress in your box (research shows that regular on/off practice increases work productivity).

Talk to Danny, the GM at 22 Bishopsgate, and his team, and they will share with you many more ways to use this building to support your day. Whether you want to drop in for a 20-minute brain boosting meditation with amazing views at the retreat on the 42nd floor, or nourish your gut (& brain) with Ashwagandha protein shakes at the food court or just sweat, shake and shout it out on the 25th floor to release and recalibrate.

Diversity in the building will also play a key part. 22 Bishopsgate calls it ‘unlikeminded’ which ignites a sense of what London is brilliant at: celebrating differences and creating something good from it. Situated right at the financial/creative intersection at Liverpool Street, it is a building where these two communities, and everything else in between, blend together in the innovation centre and the co-working lounge.

A building that cares about your performance and quality of life? Yes, it is. A pioneering well building with measurable benefits for business? Yes, it is. Part of the future narrative of working life for any leading CEO? It certainly is.

So, wave good bye and thank those old Dan Rather style beliefs, buildings and bosses of a bygone era. The work-life trade-off has probably all but been dissolved. ‘Work’ and ‘life’ are no longer separate concepts. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing as long as there are places like 22 Bishopsgate where you can BE well and DO well at the same time.