What it means to take a life-dimensional approach to wellbeing

No one would argue that what makes someone a person is complex.

It includes things like their career, hobbies, roles within their family unit, and roles within the larger community. But when it comes to health, too often there’s a push to go with a simple biological answer.

But there is nothing simple about a person’s ability to get and stay well. It’s tied to everything from where they live and their ability to get fresh food from a grocery store to the emotional toll of caring for an elderly parent. Job, community, family, and emotional health all impact a person’s ability to achieve health. Which is why focusing only on the person’s physical condition is problematic: how can you add more outdoor exercise to your daily routine if you live in a neighborhood that’s unsafe?

This is why, unlike traditional offerings, we take a life-dimensional approach.

WellSpark was built to address the needs of the modern workforce, specifically those groups with economically diverse, multicultural, long-tenured employee populations who struggle with their health. For us, it’s about understanding each person as the sum of everything in their life—the biological, psychological, and social factors that intersect and determine their health.

WellSpark’s life-dimensional approach gets to the heart of health challenges.

WellSpark’s life-dimensional approach gets to the heart of health challenges.

This approach peels back the layers to see how everything connects in a way that leads to meaningful change. That means personalized guidance, working with each person to understand what behaviors or changes to their routine a person is willing and able to make. It also means applying cultural competency—understanding how a person’s background shapes their behaviors and beliefs then adapting our guidance to reflect them. And it means thinking about how we can build on small victories to achieve lasting health over time.

But beyond any of that, our life-dimensional approach is often the first time in a long time (or ever) that someone is tasked with improving their health has taken the time to really understand them as a human being. It’s how we build trust so we can ask the harder questions. We know that asking someone to change isn’t an easy conversation, but neither is being the one told to change. But, by starting from a place of compassion and of collaboration, without judgment, our participants know we’re going to be there every step of the way. With support and personalized direction, they build self-management skills, establish healthier behaviors, and learn how to achieve a more enduring well.

WellSpark’s Commitment to Cultural Competency – Understanding Workplace Culture and Beyond

An employee struggling with their health isn’t just a person with a weight problem or a diabetes diagnosis.

Factors like support systems, mental health issues, socioeconomic struggles, and cultural differences, to mention a few, can seriously affect someone’s health. A lot of wellness programs ignore these factors that make up the totality of a person’s life. They may try to fit people into a one-size-fits-all box. But we know this isn’t the best way to go about making lifestyle changes that last, in this case, for everyone.

Everyone, and every job, has a different culture. With culture comes unique languages, diets, schedules, environments, beliefs, and general practices. So, when wellness programs introduce a ‘one size fits all’ program for a workforce, how do we expect these programs to succeed for everyone? Everyone’s health is their own. It’s personal. Every program designed to help people get and stay on a healthy path needs to connect with each individual’s life.

At WellSpark, we believe that to engage people in health programs, you must make the program relevant to that person’s culture and life. Nutrition education needs to be about what people eat in their everyday life, not just lessons about the standard programming of the western American diet. Typical exercise and activity programming needs to be more than going to a gym. It could include things like dancing with your extended family after a holiday meal. And while you might conjure up thoughts of a holiday meal served on plates, at a table gathering, with everyone conversing, for others, it might look different – served in a communal bowl, sitting on the floor, with minimal conversation – creating a connection to one’s culture.

What is culture? When we think about the culture of a workforce at Wellspark, we go beyond what, when, and how employees may eat or exercise. We think about culture in terms of the workplace, the workday, and the actual work itself. Is it conducive to living a healthy lifestyle? Does the work itself make a person sick? Is the work sedentary? Does it impact a person’s sleep patterns? Is it lonely?

The physical workplace also factors into our cultural programming. What if you don’t work in an office? What if you are in a delivery truck, on a shop floor, or working the night shift doing patient care? Programs must be relevant to a person’s life AND accessible during the day to fit a person’s lifestyle. At WellSpark, we’re focused on reaching these economically diverse, multicultural, hard-to-reach populations. WellSpark is committed to the cause of developing culturally relevant and accessible health programs to connect with a culturally diverse workforce. Given these statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health:

  • 42% of Black or African American adults have hypertension
  • 22% of Hispanic Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes
  • Indigenous Americans have the highest rate of cigarette smoking compared to all racial/ethnic groups in America
  • Asian Americans are 40% more likely to have diabetes compared to non-Hispanic White Americans

WellSpark connects programs with the people we are endeavoring to serve.

How Employers Can Provide Effective Leadership & Take Care of Their Workforce During COVID-19

Proactive Tips Employers Can Take to Keep Employee Morale and Engagement Up During the Crisis.

Whether you’re the owner of a mom-and-pop shop or a decision-maker at a larger company, it’s important to know the different structures for group health insurance plans. Knowing these differences can help you and your business find a plan that works best for your employees and your bottom line.

By now, most of the workforce has shifted to working remotely from home during the pandemic. This change can cause serious declines in employee productivity, engagement and overall team performance. Gallup has found that universally employees look to leaders for trust, compassion, stability, and hope. These needs are especially needed during a crisis such as COVID-19. It’s crucial for employers to maintain and strengthen employee communications to bolster morale and continue to provide effective leadership. Just as business operations have been severely impacted so has your workforce. Employers can continue to maintain a company culture of positivity and productivity through weekly check-ins digitally and telephonically sharing events and uplifting stories. Keeping your office culture intact, helping to keep employee morale up and easing mental and financial strains are just a few ways to reduce stress for you employees.

Here are some proactive tips employers can take to improve overall team performance during COVID-19:

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Have a plan.
Make sure employees have access to the materials and equipment they need to do their jobs from home. Technology and communication provide the stability employees need.1

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Set “office hours.”
Designate specific working hours. For example, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m.

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Communicate Expectations Early.
Communicate the level of communication you are expecting from your employees. Set guidelines on responsiveness and preferred method of communication.2 If your office hours are 9-5, employees should be available for meetings and working during the allotted hours. It is also important to communicate the expectations of your employees. For example, we are working on “X,” “Y” is needed, and the deadline is “Z”.3

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Engage Regularly.
Established regular check-ins with your team. Each employee is different, take time to understand how often your employees need you to check-in with them.

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Remind them of the resources available to them.
It is especially important during this time to remind employees of the resources available to them. Employees will want to know that the organization cares about their well-being during a crisis. Especially during these uncertain times.4 For example:

  • Do your best to provide useful information about COVID-19.
  • Work policies, such as paid time off and leave.
  • Connect with your organizations health plan to see what they are doing for your employees and communicate that.
  • Telehealth
  • TalkSpace
  • WellSpark resources such as Coping During COVID-19 content videos available in our Health Video Library.
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Take advantage of technology.
Use technology to build and maintain a community with your employees Use a web bases video conference services such as Zoom to host virtual celebrations. For example, birthdays or team victories. This allows teams to connect “face-to-face.”

Heart Hand Empathy

Show empathy and be available.5
During this time employees may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Let your staff know you are to them to talk about fears, to answer questions and to reassure them about work and other issues that might come up when working remotely.


[1] Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/304607/remember-needs-followers-during-covid.aspx

[2] Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/05/30/top-15-tips-to-effectively-manage-remote-employees/#1e2266e6503c

[3] Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/288956/covid-teams-working-remotely-guide-leaders.aspx

[4] Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2020/03/22/how-to-help-employees-cope-with-covid-19/#452acd584cbd

[5] American Psychiatric Association. http://www.workplacementalhealth.org/Employer-Resources/Working-Remotely-During-COVID-19

How WellSpark Health is Addressing the Coronavirus with our Loyal Customers & Partners

We’re dedicated to Supporting Our Customers & Partners at this Critical Time of COVID-19 Outbreak.

Every day our mission is the same. To tackle the fight against chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension so our members can live better and make healthier lifestyle choices. Today, in these surreal times while the world is facing the Coronavirus pandemic, WellSpark Health remains dedicated to supporting our customers and partners who like us are at great risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19. We want to let you know our commitment is to you at this time. You have our support at this critical time in our nation’s health.

The WellSpark Health COVID-19 Response Plan

Here are just a few steps we are taking to support our customers and partners:

Online and Telephonic Health Coaching
Providing online and telephonic health coaching in Connecticut and New York, now with COVID-19 guidance, advice, and grief counseling. WellSpark coaches help to manage diet, exercise, sleep, pain, and stress, while WellSpark nurses provide disease management strategies for those with chronic conditions. However, both coaches and nurses noticed their normal education and coaching sessions got interrupted due to a greater need in COVID-19 related issues. Nurses and coaches are now assisting members by sharing relevant information to help them better understand COVID-19. Members are also learning how to cope with grief and loss and how to encourage self-care, all while continuing to support those managing a chronic condition such as diabetes. WellSpark is also taking care of its members and employees by offering a variety of helpful resources such as eMindful, a mindfulness app for managing mental health, and video content on how to cope during this difficult time.

Worksite Health & Employee Safety Precautions
We look to the CDC for guidance and their current recommendations to protect our employees’ health and safety in these unpresented times. We continue to operate remotely for the time-being. Our team of medical doctors, coaches and nurses along with the WellSpark administrative staff is still available to you at normally scheduled business days and working hours. Our business operations efficiently allow us to work via online or telephonically.

Constant Participant Communications & Engagement
We are in constant communication and engagement with our customers and partners by providing relevant and important up-to-date information. Our team of medical doctors, coaches and nurses continue to support participants either digitally or telephonically with questions they may have. Our participants health and well-ness journey continue to be our priority.

Product & Services Availability
We do not anticipate having any delays, shortages or issues with our portfolio of well-being products and services. Spark Life Worksite Wellness, Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Help 364 Chronic Care Self-Management are still in use by program participants. Medical advice, mentorship and lifestyle coaching are still available to participants telephonically or digitally.

Maintaining a Company Culture of Positivity and Productivity
COVID-19 had us rapidly shift to the way we traditionally work with staff having to work for the first time both at home, and physically separated. While our initial focus will be maintaining our customers and partners, it’s also critically important that we support our staff that have been impacted. We continue to maintain a company culture of positivity and productivity through weekly check-ins digitally and telephonically sharing events and uplifting stories.

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