How the Approach to Employee Wellness Should Change Post-COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the necessity of upholding employee physical and mental health much more apparent today. It has also reshaped the features employees will find beneficial in their workplace’s wellness program.

Harvard Business Review reports that the problem with many employee wellness programs is that the way they are presented make them seem like transactions—that burnout is a mere byproduct of hard work. Moving forward from the pandemic, organizations need to adjust their messaging and their program components.

Your organization’s approach to its wellness program after COVID-19 requires some reevaluation and more creative methods to encourage participation and truly promote good health. Here is a guide to help you recreate your corporate wellness program to be more sensitive to the needs of your team.

Keep the Physical Health and Fitness Features

Most corporate wellness programs put emphasis on physical health. These remain important for overall employee wellness, so tweak your organization’s to accommodate flexible work schedules.

1. Provide avenues for physical exercise

For the post-COVID-19 workplace, you need to consider both remote and onsite options for physical fitness.

Hybrid workplaces should have available fitness classes for onsite employees. For businesses that can accommodate such upgrades, set up your own office gym, studio, and even courts for safety. Before employees begin reporting to work physically, have post-tension tennis courts built by experienced contractors to ensure the durability of these facilities.

For remote employees, offer online options, such as yoga sessions or Zumba classes. On-demand videos are also helpful so that they can exercise on their own time.

2. Have employee-led health challenges

Since employees will be spending less time in the office, group challenges help foster a sense of community. Take ideas from employees and have them vote on the one they most prefer. This way, you can be sure that the challenges they have committed to doing are those that they are willing to take part in.

These do not have to be big challenges, either. Simple healthy habits, such as drinking more water and eating less junk food are good goals. You can also make special mentions of successful team members in your company bulletins to encourage them to keep going.

3. Create regular newsletters to promote proper nutrition

Aside from participating in exercises and health challenges, you should also pay attention to proper nutrition. One way to address the need for healthier eating habits is to send out informative newsletters that teach your employees about eating well.

To encourage them to open these emails, feature healthy recipes from employees to increase participation. Introduce creative outputs such as cooking contests and posts of recipes they have tried. A separate channel on your communication platforms for healthy eating tips and staff’s recipes also helps build a sense of community.

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Emphasize Mental Health Awareness

An overlooked aspect of employee wellness that urgently needs to be addressed is mental health awareness. Here are ways to incorporate it into your organization’s program.

1. Hold mental health seminars or webinars

The first action your organization should make is to have a licensed professional lead a seminar to educate everyone on the importance of mental health and the proper ways to cope with stress in work and personal life.

Have a person share their own stories with mental health to emphasize its reality. Open the floor for questions, too, so that employees have an opportunity to better understand how good mental health practices apply in their own lives.

These educational workshops and seminars help remove the stigma on mental illness and also allow staff to assess these concerns in themselves and gain the courage to seek help should they need it.

2. Offer free mental health screenings

A concrete way to support team members in caring for their own mental health is to offer free or subsidized one-on-one sessions with professionals. Partner with another organization who can host these screenings for your team and give them the liberty to recommend further medical treatment should it be necessary.

3. Promote and model a good work-life balance

As the leader of your organization, you set the example for the culture of the workplace. A team leader that does not take breaks promotes an unhealthy culture in which employees also are unable to log off from work even after work hours.

Be true to the office hours you have set for everybody—from onsite employees, remote workers, to yourself. Have clear login and logout times so that all employees are aware and respect each other’s time.

Remember that the behavior you cultivate in the workplace trickles down to your employees. By modeling productivity and proper boundaries, you encourage everyone to practice the same.

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