February 9, 2023

How we feel physically and manage our emotions significantly impacts our work output and quality and relationships with coworkers. Physical and emotional wellness go hand in hand in helping us perform at our best to handle day-to-day events, meet challenges and work towards important goals.  

Fortunately, physical and emotional well-being is a skill that anyone can learn. According to neuroscientists at the Center of Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin Madison, well-being can be learned to cultivate healthier habits of body and mind. 

Investing in training that teaches the skills to manage physical and emotional wellness helps employers improve their workforce’s ability to handle stress and adapt to change to prevent burnout, a primary reason why employees leave and seek work elsewhere. 

What is physical wellness? 

Whether employees work on a sales floor, warehouse or office, there are health risks inherent to the work they do. Prolonged sitting, poor desk posture, working on a keyboard all day and a demanding work schedule can lead to physical ailments and impede employees’ ability to get exercise, sleep or make regular doctor’s appointments, increasing their odds of illness. 

Physical wellness is about getting the physical activity you need, eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of sleep, and maintaining a healthy weight. When employees are healthy and feel great, they are more likely to perform their best and be less absent from work. 

Examples of how organizations can improve employee physical wellness include: 

  • Taking regular breaks throughout the workday 
  • Encouraging employees to stretch during long meetings and scheduling walking meetings 
  • Make standing desks an option 
  • Avoiding a culture of workaholism that pressures employees to work long days 
  • Encouraging employees to take vacation, sick days and schedule doctor’s appointments  
  • Investing in employee exercise, yoga and aerobic classes before and after work  
  • Encouraging employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator and to bring healthy snacks and lunch to the office 

What is emotional wellness? 

When employees are stressed at work, it can interfere with their ability to perform their jobs. Emotionally compromised individuals lose sleep, come in late to work, underperform on job tasks, experience greater conflict with their peers and are less receptive to criticism.  

According to the American Psychological Association, emotional wellness helps us control our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, keep problems in perspective, bounce back from setbacks and cope with challenges to keep us more engaged and motivated at work. 

Examples of how organizations can improve employee emotional wellness include:  

  • Raising awareness of emotional health benefits and resources that are available such as mental health counseling, addiction counseling, and encouraging their use 
  • Allowing employees to take “mental health days” in the same way that they might take time off for physical illness or family emergencies 
  • Confronting biases and microaggressions that may send subtle messages of discouragement to workers with depression or anxiety 
  • Practicing deep breathing, yoga and meditation during the workday to help you relax, relieve stress and be more mindful 
  • Encouraging employees to stop multitasking, which can significantly increase stress, frustration, effort and pressure and leave employees with less energy to be attentive, productive and manage their emotions  

Physical and emotional health are fundamentally linked 

A person’s physical health can influence their emotional state and vice versa.  

Making positive dietary changes, exercising, and avoiding substance abuse can help raise physical wellbeing to boost levels of good cholesterol, improve circulation and immunity and reduce illnesses. Employees who don’t practice heathy physical activities are at greater risk of depression, which affects 1 in 5 adults (52.9 million people) according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  

Conversely, a person’s emotional health can influence their physical being. Symptoms of emotional distress can appear as stomach pain, muscle spasms or headaches. However, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that poor mental health can also lead to depression and significantly increase the risks of chronic physical health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. 

Employers that help employees find the optimal balance of physical and emotional well-being realize the most from their workforce, which is better equipped to manage change, respond to challenges and remain resilient.  

To learn more about how to implement a health and wellness program, join Traliant’s free 60- minute webinar, “Addressing Employee Burnout and Psychological Safety: A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Mental Health & Wellness” on Thursday, February 16, at 2 pm ET. Click here to reserve your webinar seat. 

Traliant Insights 

Physical and emotional well-being affects day-to-day work behavior, productivity and relationships. Fostering a wellness culture that teaches employees how to optimize their physical and emotional well-being helps an organization improve performance and retention and reduce insurance costs. 



Mark Hudson