Rethinking your employee wellness plan

by Ofentse Sefolo
Rethinking your employee wellness plan

With the world facing uncertainty due to COVID-19, it is more important than ever for employers to rethink traditional approaches to employee wellness. Employers can implement or adapt their wellness programme to a holistic approach with specific, actionable goals that employees can implement to boost productivity and engagement at work, as well as improve long-term health.

Customise your plan for your employees
Employee wellness programmes can be customised to include group and personal wellness challenges, a health assessment, health coaching, progress and results tracking with fun rewards. Each month the programme can give employees new habits to practise for different health areas.

Different components of wellness influence one another and if one aspect of wellness is lacking, it’s difficult for employees to feel and perform their best at work. Employers can invest in paid time off, a flexible schedule, caregivers for employees caring for elderly or child family members, virtual or on-site fitness classes, seminars and health coaching for their employees.

Improved health leads to work productivity
Robert Lyon, fitness expert and founder of Lyon Fitness in Australia, says now is an essential time for businesses to look at implementing a corporate wellness strategy if they haven’t done so already. He says the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the workplace rhythm and dynamics and, in many cases, has disengaged and demotivated staff, especially those experiencing stress and anxiety.

“There is extensive evidence that improvements in physical health and fitness lead to increases in work productivity, task focus and mental resilience. People who are fitter, healthier and happier, do better in fast-paced and stressful environments and have more effective communication and problem-solving skills. This leads to improvements in work output and overall earning capacity across every occupation and workforce,” says Lyon.

Ideas for your employee wellness programme

Improve physical health
This area of wellness refers to the health of the body and includes nutrition, exercise, health habits and preventative healthcare. Employers can include physical wellness in their employee wellness programme through:
• Annual biometric screenings.
• Nutrition education.
• Physical activity at work.
• Healthy lifestyle education.
• Annual corporate flu shot clinics.
• Healthy office snacks.

Build financial health
Financial wellness refers to learning how to successfully manage financial expenses. Employers can include financial wellness in their employee wellness programme through:
• Providing financial resources to employees.
• Retirement education.
• Tuition assistance.
• Finance-focused learning sessions.

Enhance emotional health
Emotional wellness refers to being aware and in touch with your emotions, thoughts and feelings. Employers can include emotional wellness in their employee wellness programme through:
• Stress management programmes.
• Mental health days.
• Emotional or mental health education and resources.
• Group deep-breathing exercises.

Boost social health
Strong work relationships and opportunities for social connection in the workplace are essential for employee job satisfaction, happiness and overall well-being. Employers can include social wellness in their employee wellness programme through:
• Team outings and activities.
• Work celebrations.
• Social areas in the office.
• Wellness challenges.
• Bring-and-share lunches.

Employee wellbeing has always played a critical role in any business but is even more so in this day and age.

Acknowledgement and thanks go to Wellable for some of the information contained in this article.

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