Many wellness programs at work focus on things like eating right and getting enough exercise.
But now human resource departments are focusing on the wellness of employees for something else, something that until now really had not received the same attention as eating and exercise. It’s brain wellness, particularly how the health of the brain can contribute to engagement at work.
The idea, according to those in the health industry, is to give the brain exercise like any other muscle through a variety of games, puzzles and other activities. The brain wellness program is designed specifically for companies who want to increase the productivity of their workers. The program, which is based online, enables the employee to first get an assessment of his or her brain health, to find out what areas need improvement. Then, the program makes recommendations as to what games and exercises the person can use to increase his brain health and productivity.
The areas targeted may deal with things such as problem solving skills, memory, or emotional problems.
One study showed that employees who spent one month doing the brain exercises online had greater productivity and less absenteeism. They also showed gains with positive thinking, dealing with stress and social skills. With the 30-day program, the improvements tend to erode over time. But if the program is followed for two months, the positive changes tend to be permanent.
A recent survey showed that half of the companies surveyed had some kind of brain health program in addition to a general health program.
In many employee health programs, there is no effort to get workers to make the connection between the mind and the body and how the two affect each other. Some experts believe programs that treat mental and emotional health also do a better job of helping employees handle other medical issues.
Scientific research supports the idea of training for the brain, especially focusing on specific functions that the brain performs, such as short-term memory, or emotional problems, according to doctors. One such research project examined children with attention deficit disorder, who cannot recognize certain visual signals. With brain training, they can learn to pick up these signals, such as being able to see anger, happiness or other emotions.
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