Implementing Holistic Education in the Workplace

by Annie Tang in Blog

DatePosted on November 03, 2016 at 03:54 AM
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Holistic education is a philosophy of education based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace.” [1]

Being a parent in Hong Kong, I’m naturally drawn to and fascinated by what children currently learn at school (and outside of school). If you have, or are exposed to, children within your network, whether they follow the IB curriculum (a Swiss developed international curriculum) or the traditional or country specific curricula, there is a heightened awareness among kids to both community and global environmental and humanitarian issues.

Since the early 'Gen Z' kids (ie, born after the Millennial) will in the coming years enter into the work force, I’m a strong believer that we, as employers, should be leading or developing a “holistic” approach to the work place.

Here are some ideas on how to provide such a “holistic” approach to the workplace and how my company implements ideals:

Community

Having researched as well as participated in some community service initiatives myself, there are plenty of initiatives that can be incorporated into the work place ranging from delivering food to the elderly or homeless, reading to underprivileged children, beach cleaning, raising awareness or funds through hiking and other outdoor activities or challenges. Owing to time constraints and different levels or areas of interest among the work force, it may be best to form sub-groups within companies who can lead their interested initiative.

My company’s employees currently participate annually in the “Box of Hope” initiative which is a great opportunity to create a box of gifts that will be given to underprivileged children in Asia at Christmas time. We are also looking at other potential “team” community events.

Natural World

Environmental issues are all around us.  Companies can incorporate recycling bins within their office and volunteer employees can bring the items to recycling centres. 

Increased plastics in our ocean is not only threatening the environment but also our health.  A team beach clean up is an ideal team bonding event that will help the environment.

Companies can also see how they can provide support to large organisations such as World Wildlife Fund in their environmental initiatives. 

Star Anise has set up a recycling program and our colleagues have demonstrated fantastic team spirit in assisting with the collection and disposal of such items, though of course, the ultimate aim is reduce and eventually eliminate the use of disposable plastics. 

Humanitarian Values

I hope that all companies provide a humanitarian ethos. However, it has become public knowledge that some companies are allegedly utilising child labour or slavery within their business processes. For employees who feel strongly about this, they could support organisations who wish to eradicate such practices.

Finally, whilst our company initiatives may seem like 'baby steps', I hope that by the time the 'Gen Z' kids enter into the workforce, our company’s community initiatives will be even stronger and well established. 

[1] http://Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holistic_education

 

About the Author

Annie Tang

Annie is a co-Managing Director of Star Anise and a former practising Hong Kong lawyer.  

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