Self-care and nutrition have become increasingly important to not just individuals – but businesses too. Employee wellness is now a central focus for businesses who are serious about personal development as well as company growth.

With this recent surge in significance and investment, this makes health entrepreneur Alain Buffing’s insights more relevant than ever. 

In our latest Business Leaders series interview, we explore the concept of wellness with Alain, Co-Founder of The Temple, a premium lifestyle brand and digital community for all things fitness, nutrition, and better wellbeing.

To learn more about how changing our lifestyle and culture can make significant improvements in both our personal and business lives – check out the full interview below, or read on for the highlights. 

The temple: nutrition and employee wellness with alain buffing

Alain Buffing: From Travelling the World to Founding The Temple

Although he is now known for being Co-Founder of online health business The Temple, in our interview we delved deep into Alain’s background as an experienced traveller and entrepreneur who grew up surrounded by business owners in his own family.

Holistic approach in the workplace with Alain Buffing

With his family history, studying entrepreneurship therefore seemed like the right choice.

“From an early age, I was inspired by the strong characters within my family which led me to study entrepreneurship at university. When I was completing that, I got familiar with travelling and did an internship in Thailand.”

His interest in entrepreneurship was more than fitting – as it gave Alain the opportunity to explore his innovative ideas.

“I experimented a lot with entrepreneurship. One thing I did during my student years was to create a new dating concept.

“We called it ‘Dinner Dates’, it was me and three other girls from my student group. Basically we had to approach people on the street and tell them this new concept. We matched people in groups of four. You needed to sign up with one of your friends and the whole package would include a bottle of sangria and some tapas, for example. We ran a few of these dating events, but after my studies I kind of knew the dating scene wasn’t my niche.”

After having tried and tested multiple entrepreneurial routes, Alain began to discover where his interests lay.

“I then joined a few different start-ups after my studies. I worked for Rocket Internet, who are quite famous around Europe. I then created a travel programme for a Dutch agency, which was very interesting. They were one of the first online agencies to travel into Myanmar/Burma.

“Afterwards I joined Salesforce, which at the time, was rated one of the most innovative companies in the world. That was how I ended up moving to Dublin, as Dublin is where many tech companies are based.”

After travelling far and wide, Alain’s insights from these industries sparked his idea for The Temple.

“Then in April 2018, after moving to Berlin, I started my own nutrition company called ‘The Temple’.

founders of the
Nanning Jacobs and Alain Buffing, co-founders of The Temple believe in creating a culture around improved nutrition and lifestyle. Image credit: The Temple

The Temple: How It All Started

The Temple is a premium lifestyle brand and a digital community for sharing fitness tips, nutrition advice, life hacks, and offering an array of premium supplements.

As we live in a fast-paced, globalised society where consumption is king – an unhealthy lifestyle is the natural consequence of this.

With people being busier than ever, trying to juggle professional and personal lives, while still eking out time for self-care – The Temple seeks to provide a highly personalised experience, with a reliable hub of virtual experts on-hand to give solid, simple advice.

Speaking of where his inspiration came from, Alain states that he noticed these challenges first-hand.

“I started it because I saw people putting their nutrition second to their work in the companies I was working for. 

“You would then see some people getting stressed over work. What we wanted to offer was a subscription-based, holistic solution in which we could help them with their nutrition needs.”

Alain’s venture has not only brought him business success, but also personal success in terms of his health.

“Ever since I’ve started The Temple, on a personal level I have lost over eight kilos of body fat. I’m also feeling more energetic than ever and also more focused – it really does work!”

the logo
The Temple is a digital community sharing fitness tips, nutrition advice, life hacks, and offering an array of premium supplements. Image credit: The Temple

The Importance of Employee Wellness

Speaking of employee wellness, Alain states that businesses can always do more to help with their staff’s health.

“Even if you look at companies who do focus a lot on health and have extraordinary company benefits, the pressure is still high, some people do suffer a burnout. 

“Other people cope with stress in different ways. Some people do it with sports, others with a couple of drinks after work, some might even do it with sugar infused coffee during breaks and some even use cigarettes as a stress release.

“It is all about changing this culture and making small tweaks to improve their choices.”

According to Alain, stress and burnout are the highest concerns for employees these days.

“I gave a presentation about the rise of burnout rates and stress. It is very interesting to see the statistics. In the US, 35% of the workforce feel more stressed this year than last. 

“Every year more people feel more stressed and two out of ten people suffer from a burnout. Jobs do get more demanding, and I think if we don’t take time to focus on ourselves in the right way – things can easily go wrong.

“I do think these companies realise if you don’t focus on employee wellness, nutrition rates may drop. So there is a focus there, but we believed that a solution like The Temple wasn’t on the market yet. We offer subscription-based products for people who don’t have time to dive into the information overload when it comes to healthy nutrition, so we can fit easily into a person’s busy schedule while still making a positive difference.”

Tackling Common Employee Wellness Challenges

Employee wellness isn’t just about gym memberships and fruit baskets. It’s about tackling the real, often invisible, challenges that can derail productivity, happiness, and overall well-being. Let’s delve into three common foes of employee wellness and explore strategies to conquer them:

1. Work-Life Imbalance: Reclaiming the Sandbox from the Spreadsheet

For many employees, the line between work and personal life has blurred into a chaotic watercolor. Long hours, constant connectivity, and overflowing inboxes leave them feeling like hamsters on a never-ending wheel. This imbalance can lead to:

  • Burnout: Exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased productivity.
  • Stress: Anxiety, physical ailments, and emotional strain.
  • Reduced job satisfaction and engagement.

Strategies for Success:

  • Promote flexible work arrangements: Offer remote work options, compressed workweeks, or flexible schedules to accommodate individual needs.
  • Encourage healthy boundaries: Define clear expectations around work hours, email etiquette, and after-hours communication.
  • Prioritize disconnection: Discourage working outside of designated hours and promote taking breaks throughout the workday.
  • Offer resources for stress management: Provide access to mindfulness workshops, meditation apps, or employee assistance programs.

2. Burnout: From Blazing to Embers: Rekindling the Spark

Burnout is the thief of joy, sucking the life out of even the most dedicated employees. It’s a state of chronic stress and exhaustion, leaving individuals feeling emotionally drained, cynical, and ineffective.

Signs of Burnout:

  • Exhaustion: Feeling constantly drained, physically and emotionally.
  • Decreased productivity: Difficulty concentrating, completing tasks, or finding motivation.
  • Cynicism and negativity: Loss of enthusiasm, detachment from work, and negative outlook.
  • Physical symptoms: Headaches, insomnia, changes in appetite, and weakened immune system.

Strategies for Rekindling the Spark:

  • Empower employees over workload: Encourage open communication about workload, delegate effectively, and prioritize realistic expectations.
  • Promote work-life balance: Implement strategies as mentioned above to encourage healthy boundaries and disconnection.
  • Invest in mental health resources: Offer access to therapists, counselors, and employee assistance programs for support and guidance.
  • Foster a culture of well-being: Encourage breaks, physical activity, healthy habits, and open communication about mental health challenges.

3. Mental Health Stigma: Shattering the Silence

Mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and stress are surprisingly common in the workplace. Yet, many employees suffer in silence due to stigma and fear of judgment. This can lead to:

  • Delayed or untreated mental health issues: Worsening symptoms, decreased productivity, and increased risk of burnout.
  • Isolation and decreased social support: Employees may feel alone and reluctant to seek help.
  • Negative impact on employee well-being and overall company culture.

Strategies for Breaking the Stigma:

  • Openly discuss mental health: Encourage conversations about mental health challenges, normalize seeking help, and celebrate resilience.
  • Promote mental health awareness: Organize workshops, webinars, or campaigns to educate employees about common mental health issues and resources available.
  • Champion inclusivity and acceptance: Create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their struggles without fear of judgment.
  • Lead by example: Managers and leaders should openly discuss their own experiences with mental health and prioritize their own well-being.

By acknowledging and addressing these common challenges, you can create a workplace that prioritizes employee well-being, fosters resilience, and empowers individuals to thrive. Remember, a healthy and happy workforce is a productive and successful workforce.

So, let’s break the silence, reclaim the sandbox from the spreadsheet, and rekindle the spark within our employees. Together, we can build a workplace where well-being isn’t just a perk, but a fundamental pillar of success.

Real-life Examples of Thriving Employee Wellness Programs

Employee wellness programs aren’t just theoretical concepts; they’re catalysts for real-world transformation. To spark your own journey, let’s celebrate the achievements of companies who have walked the walk and witnessed the incredible benefits of prioritizing employee well-being:

Case Study 1: Google – Embracing Mindfulness and Flexibility for Innovation

The tech giant Google is renowned for its innovative culture, and a big part of that success lies in its commitment to employee well-being. Google offers on-site fitness centers, healthy food options, and even nap pods! But beyond the tangible perks, Google prioritizes:

  • Mindfulness: Google offers meditation classes, mindfulness workshops, and access to apps like Headspace to promote mental well-being and stress reduction.
  • Flexibility: Employees have the freedom to work remotely, set flexible schedules, and take advantage of generous parental leave policies, fostering a healthy work-life balance.
  • Empowerment: Google trusts its employees, encouraging autonomy and providing resources for professional development, leading to increased job satisfaction and motivation.

Results: Google boasts a thriving and innovative workforce with low turnover rates and high employee engagement. Their focus on well-being is seen as a key driver of their continued success.

Testimonial: “Google’s commitment to my well-being has been transformative. The meditation classes help me manage stress, the flexible schedule allows me to be present for my family, and the focus on personal growth keeps me motivated and engaged. It’s truly a workplace that cares about its people.” – Sarah L., Software Engineer at Google

Case Study 2: Zappos – Cultivating Fun and Connection for Increased Engagement

Online shoe retailer Zappos is known for its quirky and vibrant culture, which bleeds into its employee wellness program. They don’t shy away from unconventional approaches to:

  • Fun and engagement: Zappos has themed dress-up days, on-site games, and even a slide connecting floors! This playful environment fosters team building, breaks down barriers, and boosts employee morale.
  • Social connection: Zappos encourages colleagues to bond through team outings, volunteering initiatives, and casual social gatherings. These connections create a strong sense of community and belonging.
  • Giving back: Zappos empowers employees to engage in volunteering opportunities, providing a sense of purpose and social responsibility.

Results: Zappos consistently ranks high in employee satisfaction surveys and boasts a low turnover rate. Their focus on fun, connection, and purpose has built a loyal and engaged workforce.

Testimonial: “Working at Zappos is about more than just selling shoes. It’s about being part of a family. The playful environment keeps things fresh, the social connections make me feel supported, and the volunteering opportunities give me a sense of purpose that goes beyond work.” – Michael C., Customer Service Representative at Zappos

Taking Charge of Your Well-being: Actionable Strategies for a Thriving You

Employee wellness thrives when fueled by individual initiative. While companies can create supportive environments, ultimately, the power to prioritize your well-being lies within you. Let’s dive into specific strategies you can implement right now to boost your physical, mental, and emotional well-being:

Physical Well-being:

  • Move your body: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Consider walking, cycling, yoga, or joining a gym class.
  • Fuel your body with goodness: Choose nutritious foods with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive saturated and unhealthy fats.
  • Prioritize sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and avoid screens before bed.
  • Listen to your body: Take breaks throughout the day, stretch regularly, and don’t push yourself too hard. Learn to recognize signs of fatigue or stress and adjust your activities accordingly.

Mental Well-being:

  • Practice mindfulness: Take time for activities that focus your attention in the present moment, such as meditation, deep breathing, or nature walks.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: Identify and replace negative thought patterns with more positive and realistic ones. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques can be helpful in this process.
  • Build social connections: Spend time with loved ones, join clubs or groups that share your interests, and cultivate meaningful relationships. Strong social connections are essential for mental well-being.
  • Seek professional help: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re struggling with mental health challenges. Therapists and counselors can provide valuable support and guidance.

Emotional Well-being:

  • Identify your stressors: Learn to recognize what triggers your stress and anxiety. Once you identify them, you can develop coping mechanisms to manage them effectively.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Implement relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, or guided imagery to reduce stress and anxiety in the moment.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy: Make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy and satisfaction. Whether it’s reading, playing music, spending time in nature, or pursuing creative pursuits, prioritize activities that nourish your soul.
  • Practice gratitude: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the good things in your life. This can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal or taking a moment each day to appreciate something positive.

Resources for Support:

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Many companies offer confidential EAPs that provide access to counseling, stress management resources, and other support services.
  • Mental Health Awareness Websites: Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offer valuable information and resources for those struggling with mental health challenges.
  • Online communities and support groups: Connecting with others who share your experiences can be a powerful source of support and encouragement. There are numerous online communities and support groups available for various mental health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should my company invest in an employee wellness program?

A: Employee wellness programs offer a win-win situation for both employers and employees. Studies show they can lead to:

  • Increased productivity and reduced absenteeism
  • Improved employee engagement and morale
  • Lower healthcare costs and stress levels
  • Enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities
  • A more positive and supportive work environment

Investing in your employees’ well-being fosters a healthy, thriving workforce that drives the success of your organization.

Q: What are some common challenges companies face when implementing employee wellness programs?

A: Some common challenges include:

  • Obtaining buy-in from leadership and employees
  • Developing a program that meets diverse needs and budgets
  • Ensuring participation and engagement over time
  • Measuring the impact and return on investment (ROI)

However, with careful planning, commitment, and ongoing feedback, these challenges can be overcome to create a successful and impactful program.

Q: Where can I find resources and support for implementing an employee wellness program?

A: There are many resources available to help you, including:

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • The American Psychological Association (APA)
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Wellness industry publications and online forums
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) offered by many companies

Don’t hesitate to seek help and guidance from experts in the field.

Q: What are some simple things employees can do to improve their own well-being at work?

A: Even small changes can make a big difference. Here are a few tips:

  • Take breaks throughout the day to stretch and move around.
  • Practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
  • Eat healthy and nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Get enough quality sleep each night.
  • Connect with colleagues and build social support networks.
  • Set boundaries and avoid working outside of designated hours.
  • Seek help if you are struggling with stress, anxiety, or other mental health challenges.

Remember, prioritizing your own well-being is essential for your overall happiness and productivity at work.


Employee wellness is not a perk, but a fundamental building block of a successful and fulfilling workplace. By investing in programs that cater to the physical, mental, and emotional needs of your employees, you cultivate a vibrant workforce brimming with engagement, creativity, and resilience. Remember, happy and healthy employees are productive employees, and the benefits ripple outwards, impacting not just your company’s bottom line but also creating a more positive and supportive work environment for everyone.

Take the first step today. Embrace the data, optimize for visibility, and spark engagement with captivating visuals and interactive elements. By providing resources, promoting open dialogue, and prioritizing well-being, you can unlock the full potential of your workforce and watch your organization thrive. Let’s embark on this journey together, building a future where employee well-being is not just a goal, but a celebrated way of life.

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