Investment bankers make great money, but their jobs take a heavy toll on their bodies. They’re expected to work extended hours, and, for some, spending 80 to 100 hours a week at the office is the norm. They eat many high-calorie restaurant meals on the company’s dime, which, coupled with little time for exercise, leads to weight gain.
Since they make decisions worth millions of dollars, they’re under heavy stress. The investment banker’s lifestyle has been linked to myriad health problems, including insomnia, alcoholism, heart palpitations, eating disorders and stress-related physical and emotional conditions.
I-bankers aren’t required to eat rich meals, skip breaks or stay at their offices until midnight several nights a week. They do so because the culture of their profession—its unspoken rules and norms—demands it.
Investment banking may be an extreme example but, no matter where you work, the culture of your workplace affects your health. Employees at companies with strong cultures of wellness are happier, less stressed and feel more in control of their well-being. Sixty-six percent of them say they’re happy, versus only 32% of employees at companies where wellness isn’t valued. Sixty-six percent of employers in companies with thriving wellness cultures see an improvement in employees’ health risks, versus only 26% of employers in companies with weak cultures of wellness.
Having a corporate wellness program is not the same thing as having a strong culture of wellness. Though a wellness program can be an essential component of a healthy culture, the program itself may not be successful if the culture doesn’t support it. For example, employees may be reluctant to take stretching breaks or attend wellness events on company time if they work for an organization where working through breaks is seen as a sign of diligence. They may be skeptical about their company’s nutrition program if the cafeteria serves only greasy fast food.
Fortunately, cultural change is possible. At Blue Shield of California’s Lodi office, 65% of workers once were overweight. Employees built morale through daily potlucks featuring unhealthy foods like chips and candy. But after the company launched a comprehensive wellness program and made changes to its culture such as serving healthier food in the cafeteria, encouraging exercise during working hours and getting managers excited about fitness, employee wellness improved. Even the potlucks now feature nutritious dishes rather than junk food.
Changing the culture of your workplace takes time and careful planning, but the results are worth it. In our next two posts, we’ll give you a road map for making your company’s culture a healthier one, step by step.
Interested in improving the culture of your workplace?