Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, wellness has emerged at the forefront of the employee experience. We are in rapidly changing times, and due to social unrest and a global health crisis, many people are experiencing worsening mental health and financial issues. In addition, new research indicates that around half of the population is anxious about returning to work. Therefore, organizations should prioritize implementing robust wellness programs to help alleviate the enhanced stress employees may be experiencing at this time. Through proactively addressing employee wellness, an inclusive culture is also facilitated.
What does it take to build a successful employee wellness program?
A beneficial wellness program requires a holistic and modern approach. Employee well-being initiatives usually focus on generic problems discovered through surveys, data, and environmental evaluations and are typically designed to address these issues only. However, navigating work and life requires energy, stamina, mental focus, and emotional composure. If your employee wellness program does not consider these attributes, perhaps considering them will encompass all facets of well-being.
Well-designed programs can include:
supportive communities and opportunities to connect;
effective, science-based practices for increasing health;
techniques for achieving mental well-being and emotional balance;
current information on healthy eating and physical movement;
realistic objectives and meaningful road maps;
baseline and ongoing evaluations to assess progress;
and periodic upgrades to make new knowledge and methods readily available.
Perhaps the fastest, easiest, and most affordable way to progress employee well-being in the workplace is to support already existing networks. Across your organization, there will be people who are already working on their health and well-being by consistently using company or community fitness centers, paying attention to food choices and finding ways to manage stress. As a result, they are often more engaged and have greater work productivity. Many employees will also regularly attend and participate in company-sponsored wellness events—including volunteering, wellness committees or spend time connecting with peers over shared backgrounds or interests. By identifying these groups and giving them the practical tools and ideas to grow, you can begin to form the basis of a more comprehensive well-being network.
Proactive, clear communication is an essential component of any successful program. So, as people begin returning to the office, organizations would benefit from communicating plans, safety measures and wellness programs early so employees know what to expect. Resources should be simple and accessible to all, and mental health support should be de-stigmatized. In addition, a healthy workplace culture needs to be encouraged, including the de-glorification of overworking as a measure of productivity and enabling employees to be open about their wellness requirements. A supportive environment that encourages familiar routines and achievable goals will help people perform better and develop resilience.
In addition to these types of initiatives, focusing in on physical wellness is of benefit as well. Moving from one location to another, whether it be from office to remote work, or remote work to office, considerations for long term physical health are important. Take ergonomics as an example of this. Recently, Rachel Mithcell, Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist and Managing Ergonomist & Return to Work Consultant with Ergo Consulting, spoke to our audience to provide tips and tricks in the ergonomics space. Our audience learned a lot - and you can too! If you missed the session, we welcome you to reach out for more information.
Finally, the more your programs advance, the more benefits employees will receive. Enhanced wellness leads to personal and professional success for individuals and a competitive edge for businesses. In the end, everyone comes out ahead.
As we continue to explore Employee Wellness topics, please stay tuned for upcoming events!