It’s not the easiest time to be a professional right now. There’s a global pandemic going on outside, many of us are still stuck working at home, and add in the fact that those of us with kids are trying to juggle shifting schedules and homeschooling – it’s a lot to handle at once. It can be exhausting both mentally and physically trying to keep up with it all and can eventually wear you down. So, with workers spread thin across the board, how can work help with taking care of employee health and wellness?
There are a number of things you can do to upkeep both physical and mental fitness, most of which even remote workers can take part in. We’ll go over some of the best strategies for setting up an employee health and wellness plan as well as some activities you can do for each category.
The Importance of Employee Health and Wellness
Whether it’s setting up an employee health and wellness policy and plan or just checking in on workers to ask how things are, there are a ton of benefits that come with trying to improve the lives of your employees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, some of those benefits include the following:
- Reduced Absences
- Higher Employee Productivity
- Reduced Injuries
- Improved Morale and Company Loyalty
So how can a company go about starting an employee health and wellness plan that addresses issues while also complying with health and personal guidelines to make sure that personal information doesn’t become a public discussion point? It’s a tricky thing to handle but there are several resources available.
Starting Employee Wellbeing Initiatives
One of the easiest things you can do to determine what type of employee health and wellness plan you should start and how to go about is to simply ask your employees what things are important to them. This information is a great basis for where your plan should start.
There are a number of ways to go about this, but keep in mind you have to be extremely careful because there could be HIPAA violations or discomfort among employees when it comes to revealing something personal. A group meeting about this topic where everybody speaks publicly is probably not the best way to go about it. Instead, you can try a couple other options to keep things private.
This is discreet and lets people write in their own words what’s important to them in a private environment where only a company’s HR department knows what is discussed. The big issue with this is that because you know who sent each email, if something serious is brought up, there is not the comfort of confidentiality.
An anonymous survey
This is one of the easiest, safest, and most practical options for determining what type of employee wellness plan you may want to implement. With a survey, you can tailor it to whichever format you like: multiple choice, write-in, rankings or categories that are most important to each person, etc.. All while keeping it anonymous so you don’t risk revealing or finding out information that may be sensitive. If you’re looking for a resource for starting a survey, the CDC has a good resource that offers help for a variety of different formats.
Now that you have an idea of what type of employee wellness things your employees or co-workers want, what are some ways you can help address them without them being too in-your-face or feeling like they’re a forced thing that people don’t want to do?
Employee Wellness Activities
One of the biggest obstacles when putting together an employee wellness plan is figuring out how to put it into action. Finding things you can do in a daily workday that contribute to better mental or physical health without taking away from the day or making it feel compulsory is difficult. Here are a few easy ideas that you can try with the people in your office:
A walking meeting has numerous benefits: you’re moving which helps you stay active throughout the course of the day; you’re discussing work so you’re being productive; and it’s a chance to get some fresh air or, at minimum, get a change of scenery. Oh, and walking is one of the best things you can do for your body.
Start an “Eat Healthy” Day at Work
This is something you can do regularly: once a week, once every two weeks, even just a monthly team lunch. It can be as simple as everyone bringing in healthy snacks to share and enjoy throughout the workday or looking up healthy lunch options to order for the office that day. Again, this is a small but an easy step to take, and in a world where we often just go with the quick, less-than-healthy option, you’ll probably feel much better about this. Another healthy option is a company-branded water bottles to encourage hydration because people love to rep their colors and always need an excuse to drink more water.
Take Breaks for Non-Work Things
we’ve covered this before, but your brain simply cannot handle focusing on work for eight hours every day. You need to take breaks. When you do, take breaks where you do something creative or learn something. Some examples include coloring (we have some awesome coloring sheets for you), playing a game on your phone, or simply going for a walk. Your brain (and eyes and back if you sit and stare at a computer all day) will thank you for it.
With workplace uncertainty regarding the pandemic, not everyone is in the office these days. How do you make your remote team members feel like they’re part of the team while also engaging in these wellness activities?
Remote Employee Wellness Ideas
Many of the things we mentioned above are things you can do at home as well as at the office: go for a walk, eat better, take breaks. But what are some things you can do to give people a mental or physical break while they work from home? Since the start of COVID, many great ideas have popped up, and we at BSS have done some of them, including:
Digital Happy Hour
In many places, you simply can’t or don’t feel comfortable going to a bar right now. Instead, fire up Zoom, grab the beverage of your choice, and just hang out for an hour or so. This doesn’t need to relate to work and can instead just be a great chance to see different faces and hear different voices.
One-On-One Meetings or Phone Calls
If you’re a team leader or even just in the same department as someone working from home, a great thing to do is call or video chat with employees in a one-on-one setting. It doesn’t even have to be a specific work thing you talk about, but just how they’re holding up at home, what they’re learning about how they work at home, etc. Engaging questions to show you care and are understanding to what’s happening right now.
Find Ways to Ease The Burden
People have a lot going on while trying to work from home. They’re watching their kids or pets, trying to help with school, or trying to figure out how to work with new stressors and distractions. A huge thing you can do is take things off their plate and understand that it’s very difficult to work at the same level from home as it is in the office. At BSS, our CEO Owen has been very understanding and patient with this by giving more leeway than usual, and from a personal standpoint, it has helped me tremendously with work and just my overall worries about work.
These are just some of the numerous ways you can go about improving your company’s wellness. The biggest thing is trying to keep an open mind and understanding that everyone has different issues that are going to affect where they are mentally and physically, but even doing things once a month can help ease things up for people at work.
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