The pandemic has had a major impact on how individuals and organizations alike handle work. And as we now know, one of the main effects has been a need for businesses to focus on how to manage remote employees in a productive manner.
Beyond pure productivity though, it has also become increasingly clear that employers need to prioritize employee wellness –– whether for remote workers or for those who are returning to the office. Indeed, this is something that businesses and workers alike are placing a greater amount of emphasis on; company leaders are well aware of the need to consider their employees’ mental health in light of the pandemic, and a write-up at BusinessWire makes clear that hybrid employees in particular are determined to establish ways of maintaining health and wellness at work.
With all of that in mind, here are some things your business can do in order to actively promote employee wellness, whether those employees are remote, on-site, or working in hybrid arrangements.
1. Sleep Assistance
While sleeping is not always looked at as something an employer or organization can help with, it is still an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, and thus worthy of consideration. Not to mention, a good night’s sleep also prevents a lack of energy at work (and can help employees avoid accidents, depending on the type of work at hand). Company influence can only go so far with respect to sleep, but there are things you can do. Offering reading material on how to improve sleep is an easy option, and you can also consider arranging for the company to cover costs associated with certain apps or tools designed to assist with sleep.
2. Recreational Lunches
Despite the importance of taking a break from work, a lot of employees feel as if they’re “on the clock” during lunch –– often wolfing down small or unsatisfying meals so that they can be back at their posts. This typically stems from an assumption that anything more than a rushed lunch break will be seen as lazy or unproductive by management. For this reason, it’s important for your business to convey that lunch is a time to take a break and relax! As to how you can do so, the topic was actually covered fairly extensively in a blog post at Gala Bingo, wherein a number of useful solutions were proposed. Specifically, the post recommended employees try things like reading books, getting some exercise, or even taking short naps during lunch. Encouraging activities like these –– within reason of course –– is an excellent way to support employee wellness.
3. Financial Wellness Programs
The financial challenges brought on by the pandemic and resulting economic difficulties have affected a large number of people. As a result, many workers have had to deal with things like delayed loan payments or rising costs of living; you may have even had to reduce their salaries at some point, and things may not be back to normal yet. Giving employees access to expert financial advice as a response to all of this might not solve their problems completely, but it will show that you care, and it may just start them on the road to financial recovery.
4. Relaxation Areas
In addition to reasonable, recreational lunch periods, companies should allow employees to take short breaks to recharge from time to time –– particularly during stretches when longer hours may be required to address a given project or need. Unfortunately, though, even companies that understand the need for these occasional breaks often lack the space to support them properly. Setting up such a space, however, will help to convey to employees that it’s okay for them to recharge. BizJournals recommends setting up games (from pinball machines to putting greens), but a relaxation area could also be a lounge with a TV and reading materials, a small space for practicing yoga, or any combination of these ideas. You might even consider polling workers to see what kind of space would be most appreciated.
5. Equal Access to Health Services
Remote and hybrid working models have changed employee needs with regard to benefits. Crucially, with regard to healthcare, these changes may mean that provided care plans are not as equitable as they once were; some employees may not be able to access healthcare facilities or emergency services as readily as others who are on the same plan. For this reason, another important aspect of supporting employee wellness has become ensuring equal access to health services. This should entail, at the very least, supporting telehealth services and allowing for employees to make appointments during working hours.
Through efforts like these, your business can convey to employees that their wellness is a top priority. This has always been a wise practice among well-run businesses, but it is all the more important given the pandemic and the challenges it has inflicted.