Redefining sick time: say hello to “Swellness”.


Swellness campaign

I’ll be the first to admit I’m annoyingly stubborn when it comes to being sick. I’ll deny I’m ill until I’m running a high fever and can no longer speak in clear sentences. Then, I’ll be dragged to bed, only to whip out my laptop and continue to work from home.  And while I may view this stubbornness as dedication and commitment to my job, let’s be honest—I’m doing no one any good working at less than 100%.

In 2014, researchers estimated the total cost of presenteeism—showing up to work, but not fully functioning due to illness—had risen to $250 billion annually. Not only is the sick employee performing at a reduced capacity, they risk the health of other employees, and the employee’s families—a sickness spiral that can go on for months.

To truly Foster Happiness at Ruby, it’s important our employees feel healthy—physically, emotionally, and mentally—and take the time to heal at home. So, we’re combating presenteeism by redefining the concept of “sick time,” a term we feel focuses on the problem rather than the outcome. After all, the reason you stay home sick is to get well!

Announcing “Swell Time”

Earlier this month, Ruby launched our “Swellness” campaign. Running through the entire month of May, the Swellness campaign is based on four pillars of wellness: happiness, movement, connections, and nutrition, and will include weekly actions supporting those pillars. Team members received their very own beautifully designed Ruby Mandala poster and a list of activities—ranging from “Get your daily 8+ glasses of H2O” to “Explore the therapeutic process of coloring for 15 minutes,” to “Attend a fitness class.” Additionally, team members were given a Swellness Journal with more than 75 pages of prompts to encourage reflection on their emotional health.

Mandala in processAs team members complete the listed activities, they color in the corresponding spaces on the Ruby Mandala. There are three speeds of actions: “Just The Basics Baby”, “Take It Up A Notch”, and “Push The Limits.” This allows employees to choose their focus, level of activity, and complete the actions that make the most sense for them. As an incentive, team members can enter for prize drawings, which occur each week on “Swellness Wednesdays.”

The best part? We want to share this campaign with you! If you’re considering launching a wellness program for your employees, let us know. We are happy to make the mandala design, activity booklet, and journal available to you as a guide.

When it comes to your health, focusing on wellness versus overcoming illness can be just the perception shift you need to get better quick, and avoid the sickness spiral!

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