Holistic Health Focus At Work
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

As adults, we spend the majority of our life at work. Which means that employers have a unique opportunity to enhance an employee’s physical, mental, social, and spiritual health. However, to do so, we need to assess ways to embrace the concept of holistic health which integrates all aspects of individuals at our places of work.

Recently, McKinsey completed a survey of 30,000 employees from 30 countries to explore what these employees perceive as their health and how workplace factors function as demands upon or enablers of mental, physical, social, and spiritual health.

Two key findings can be helpful in both understanding and enhancing holistic health at work. First, good holistic health is strongly predicted by workplace enablers, while burnout is strongly predicted by workplace demands. Providing enablers alone will not mitigate burnout, and addressing demands alone will not improve holistic health. A complementary approach is needed.

Second, organizational, team, job, and individual interventions that address demands and enablers can boost employee holistic health. These may include flexible working policies, leadership training, job crafting and redesign, and digital programs on workplace health.

The survey found that more than half of employees across 30 countries reported positive overall holistic health. However, there were substantial variations between countries. The lowest overall percentage of positive scores were from Japan (25 percent) and the highest percentage of positive scores were from Turkey (78 percent). Among respondents, the largest proportion of positive scores was for physical health at 70 percent, and approximately two-thirds of global employees reported positive scores on mental and social health. The lowest proportion of positive scores were on spiritual health, at 58 percent. When looking at demographic differences, those aged 18 to 24 had the lowest holistic-health scores.

Leaders who wish to understand how to enhance holistic health can use the following graphic.


This study has much to teach us about enhancing holistic workplace health. I recommend reading this report from McKinsey and having a discussion within your organization on ways to enable healthy work and to decrease the demands that diminish worker health. Doing so will increase the satisfaction and overall success of your company.