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The Office Should Be A Haven For Health And Wellness

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In a world where we often connect virtually more than in reality, where we can curate online profiles to be fictional representations of real life, and where we can Uber practically anything to our desks, we are moving dangerously close to an epidemic of disconnection and loneliness. Surrounded by a sea of digital faces it's crucial that we find time to connect and interact at a grassroots, humanistic level. Workplace wellness programs are providing the opportunity to do just that, acknowledging the pressure of professional and personal obligations, and demonstrating awareness of the direct correlation and growing concern towards stress related illnesses.

Spotify made headlines recently with their competitive parental leave package. Google offers complimentary meals and snacks to employees, insisting that food be easily accessible at any given time. AOL Canada offers twice weekly yoga and meditation classes in a boardroom specifically designed to be pulled apart and re-assembled to accommodate professional and physical practices alike.

Coming into a space everyday that offers these types of healthy perks and mindful activities is comforting.

Progressive companies such as these are recognizing the importance of treating employees like human beings, moving away from the nose to the grindstone, work til you drop mentality, and instead supporting a healthy balance of work and personal endeavors.

Want to run around the city before you log in at your desk? Office run clubs are all the rage, with some workplaces even accommodating sweaty commuters with onsite showers and change rooms. Need a little zen in your afternoon? Yoga and meditation classes in a communal space are a great option, and nap rooms offer 20 minutes of refuge from the daily grind. Fridges stocked with cold pressed juices, coconut water and cold brewed coffee provide healthy alternatives to junk food, and are helping employees get over the afternoon slump without having to venture further than the office kitchen. In essence, workplace wellness initiatives are setting staff up to succeed, literally putting all the tools necessary right at their fingertips to have the most productive work day possible.

And let's not forget about the sense of community. Coming into a space everyday that offers these types of healthy perks and mindful activities is comforting. Employees feel cared for; the simple fact that these services are available to them acknowledges that their worth is felt. In a place of work where employee health is prioritized, it is clear that they are more than just numbers or faces at desks, they are respected people with needs that are being met.

Corporate wellness programs hold space to be vulnerable, to be tired, to be overwhelmed and to work through all of that energy in a positive and productive way. Whether we are clocking in as junior staff, or presiding in a leadership role, we all feel those same emotions, have the same visceral reactions facing challenges, struggle with the same ups and downs. It is of great benefit to spend the majority of our time in a place that recognizes that equalizing humanness, and is proactive about stress management.

Workplace wellness programs are a growing trend rooted in necessity. Whether it's a yoga instructor, a running coach, or a communal kitchen space filled with fresh local food, human touch is becoming the antidote to our touch screen generations. With great power comes great responsibility, and it is inspiring to see leaders and innovators not only driving the movement towards physical and mental wellness at work, but graciously footing the bill.

This post is part of an editorial series produced by The Huffington Post as part of our month-long "Work Well" initiative, which focuses on thriving in the workplace -- staying healthy and free of anxiety even in the midst of difficult work conditions. The goal of the series -- which will feature blogs, reported features, videos, and more -- is to present creative solutions you can use to take care of yourself as you take care of business. The effort is also part of The Huffington Post's "What's Working" solutions-oriented journalism initiative. To see all the content in the "Work Well" series, visit here.

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