We invited Ragen Chastain to talk about evidence-based approaches to foster an inclusive workplace culture that supports the physical and mental health of employees of all sizes. Ragen helped us identify common misconceptions about wellness and body size, elements of toxic wellness culture, and accommodation mistakes that can create weight stigma, exclusion, and perpetuate eating disorders.
Ragen helped us understand that some workplace setups can create challenges. For example, when sending employees apparel, will everyone be able to find a suitable size? We also learned that not all desks and conference room setups are conducive for every body, and will create discomfort for some. Ragen says, “when we talk about creating a welcoming work environment, our foundational principle is that employees of all sizes should experience equal access and treatment at work.”
Ragen also shared a framework for ensuring that workplace wellness activities are inclusive. The overarching motto should be: nobody is obligated to participate in wellness, and at the same time every body should be welcome. For setting up workplace wellness activities, she suggested we ask ourselves the following questions:
- Is this activity physically and psychologically safe?
- Is it accessible for everyone?
- Can everyone afford it?
- And last but not least – is it enjoyable for everyone?