I use the phrase “personal wellness” a lot on this site. It’s a term that is necessary only because so many people have come to regard the term “wellness” as synonymous with the “corporate wellness” program that their employer provides.
Here’s how the terms compare:
|Personal Wellness||Corporate Wellness|
|intrinsic - driven by you and your needs and goals||extrinsic - driven by your employer's needs and goals|
|proactive - you want genuine high-level wellness||reactive - your boss is reacting to high health-care costs and reduced productivity from un-well employees|
|lifelong - the benefits of your personal wellness program follow you for the rest of your life||term of employment - a corporate wellness program lasts only as long as your job with the company|
|holistic - it's easier for your personal wellness program to address you as a whole person||medical - while some corporate wellness programs now attempt to address the whole person most still focus on medical goals like disease treatment and prevention|
|private - you alone control access to the information about your program||exposed - your employer may require biometric and other personal health data for you to get the full benefits of their program|
Managers at many, if not most, companies get these distinctions. A few progressive companies even explicitly recognize them and offer programs that attempt to proactively address your unique individual needs, to holistically address your wellness, and to protect your privacy.
But even if you work at one of these forward-thinking companies, there’s no guarantee that management changes, budget cuts, or other constraints won’t change the program in the future. So, pretty much anyone in a corporate job can benefit from having a personal wellness plan that complements their work benefits.
And, of course, personal vs. corporate wellness isn’t a black-and-white dichotomy. The two are obviously intertwined for anyone who works at a company that offers a wellness program. Think of them as two sides of the same coin, as “both and” not “either or.”
Do you see other differences between personal wellness and corporate wellness? If so, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.