Google searches for ‘work from home’ are higher in 2020 than any other year on record.
What does this mean for employees?
Attached with the work from home (WFH) lifestyle comes an unknown, but increasing, number of stressors. 51% of working professionals worldwide are worried about the increasingly blurry lines between work life and personal life. Closures of schools pressed working parents to take on the additional role of a home-school teacher. Almost ¾ of UK employees have experienced feelings of loneliness.
Despite all the stressors, an IBM survey found that 58% of current remote employees would like 'WFH' to be the primary way of working. The sudden acceleration of the remote work lifestyle has made both employers and employees realise that jobs that were previously thought to be on-site only can in fact be conducted remotely. Companies like Twitter, Facebook and more are permitting employees to work remotely permanently.
How do businesses continue to support their employees and well-being in a post COVID-19 world?
What we know pretty much for certain is that there is a big gap between what employers offer and what employees value. Although 79% of employers believe that are sufficiently supporting the physical and emotional health of their workforce, only 44% of employees say the same.
Here are 5 employee wellness strategies to ensure that your wellness program aligns with the needs of your workforce and is fit for the post COVID-19 world.
Make Wellness At Home A Strategic Priority
For your wellness program to succeed, commit to it as a priority from the top. According to a Deloitte study, ⅔ of organisations view these programs as a strategic priority. To remain competitive, companies can no longer dismiss well-being programs and policies as an option.
Corporate wellness are no longer a benefit, they are an expectation.
How you value your employees and your willingness to invest in their wellbeing will define your relationship with them, especially in these uncertain times. Incorporating workplace wellness into your business’ priorities will positively influence health lifestyles on the individual level, all of which create a holistic, healthy and happy culture. This translates to improved employee retention, higher productivity, better bottom-line business results and is key to attracting top talent. Benefits like Nell's Discovery programme allow employees to strategise their own healthy eating and exercise habits to achieve their health goals wherever they are, creating a long term culture of wellbeing as a priority.
Promote Social Cohesion
Our brains are wired for social interaction, so being socially isolated causes neural cravings similar to hunger. Thus, it is essential to acknowledge the loneliness of remote working. The corporate wellness industry is beginning to encompass social aspects into their programs, especially now since the social connections that we crave and need are no longer easily accessible.
Create wellness challenges and promote friendly competition. Build ‘water cooler’ online spaces (e.g. Slack channel) where employees are free to discuss personal wellbeing goals or anything else. And, if or when you are back in-person, create social spaces where employees can connect in a work-free environment.
Don’t Forget About Mental Health
Pandemics always have social consequences, and this one is no different. When home becomes the workplace too and the lines between personal and work blur, employees tend to work longer hours. Businesses have to begin putting mindfulness at the forefront of their wellness strategy to mitigate the explosion of mental health issues due to COVID-19. Some offerings could include virtual psychological therapies and team guided meditations, we can help you with some recommendations for providers we work with. Get in touch via our website.
To find out how your workforce is coping, it is crucial not to just rely on self-reporting techniques to find out how your workforce is coping. Regular opportunities for leaders and colleagues to check-in with employees builds trust, encourages peer support and allows everyone to share their ways to stay focused and calm.
Nutrition Holds The Key
Thinking about the food your workforce consumes is very underplayed. At Nell, we truly believe that good nutrition is the key to good health. A study by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that 75% of healthcare costs goes to treating chronic diseases, most of which can be solved or improved through diet changes.
Although some of your workforce may be intentional and aware of what they are consuming, the work environment often makes it harder to remain on track with your wellbeing goals. Boost your employees cognitive performance, productivity and health by making office events healthy events, providing nutrition education and offering healthy options at lunch. If you are fully remote, ensure you have programmes to help encourage good nutrition 'at home' across your organisation.
Personalise Your Programs
The usual one-size-fits-all approach does not work anymore. Employees want personalised programs that meet their personal needs. Encouraging individuality and allowing people to choose the health goals that are the most meaningful to them provides a sense of control, which ultimately drives engagement and increases measures of wellbeing.
Nell uses genetic dispositions data, blood biomarkers and lifestyle assessments create personalised actionable insights that employees use to create tangible change in their wellbeing, with the help of our genetics and medical experts through virtual consultations.
No body is ordinary nor the same, so it is essential that your wellbeing program reflects that.
Corporate wellness programs that are designed to help your employees lead a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle will boost morale and create a welcoming and inclusive culture. By focusing on both the tangible and intangible, your workplace will be one that everyone will look forward to returning to every Monday.