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Why prioritising employee wellness is more important now than ever

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s mental and physical health across the globe. With health and wellness becoming the topmost priorty for people worldwide, employers are buckling up to help and safeguard their employees.

Employee wellbeing is not limited to physical health; various other factors determine an individual’s overall functioning. Employee health and wellbeing have always been a priority for employers as they boost employee productivity, reduce burnout, improve workplace culture, and offer many other benefits.

Technological advancements are now facilitating varied alternatives for workplace wellness, and organisations are planning strategic approaches to drive health and wellness programmes for their employees.

How do employers play an important role?

Employees are the prized asset of an organisation, and it is the duty of employers to take care of them. Introducing an effective wellness programme for employees can engage them better.

Considering the current situation where most organizations have adopted remote working and allowing employees to work from home, employee engagement and wellbeing has become a challenging task.

Employee stress, productivity, presenteeism, burnout, mental health issues, and many more are some of the major challenges of employers to overcome. Short tea breaks, lunch gatherings, communicating to the workplace, casual conversations with teammates, and outdoor team bonding activities are not possible in remote working.

Internal communications among employees are affected, which is main the reason employees feel disconnected from the organisation or their colleagues. Employers also need to prioritize enhancing internal communication to boost engagement and let the team members feel included.

Why is it more important now than ever?

Since the outburst of coronavirus, people worldwide have experienced stress, fatigue, and depression due to various reasons. The corporate world is severely affected as well due to certain shifts in the work culture.

Juggling from situations like losing a closed one, maintaining household chores and work, prolonged working hours, and experiencing financial instability, the mental, health, and financial wellbeing of the employees have faced a huge setback.

Taking measures to introduce wellness programmes has become the need of the hour. Before COVID-19, majority of employees were working from office for some fixed hours; with the shift in the workplace, there have been significant changes in the way they work.

Working conditions at home need not be the same for everyone. It is not all a dreamy experience for all employees; work from home has also blurred the lines between professional and personal working hours. It affects the physical health of the employees for lack of proper working space; it has impacted their mental health acutely as well.

HRs and leaders must address this concern and assess their current wellness program,e and, if not, should consider introducing one in their organisation.

The use of technology and AI to derive the appropriate wellbeing solution for the organization will ultimately help revive employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Effective steps to address employee wellness

Encourage communication

Suppose you, as an employer or manager, encourage internal communication among the employees. This will make them feel included and help them deal with stress, personal or professional. You also need to make sure that they receive the correct information on time.

Recognise their efforts

Appreciate and reward them for their hard work and dedication. Recognising employees for their work will boost their confidence and fuel productivity. This enhances working relationships and workplace culture.

Be a good listener

If you let your employees speak up about their challenges and struggles, and empathise with them, it will create employee trust. They will feel valued and may also feel a little less burdened by life. Employees tend to be engaged with leaders who genuinely care.

Focus on mental health

Future corporate employee wellness solutions must address mental health as much as they prioritise physical health. Employers should provide resources and counseling sessions to address mental health awareness.

Introduce wellness challenges

To encourage your employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle and be active in physical activities, you can introduce wellness challenges for them. Challenges like completing a 5 km run daily, monitoring protein intake, yoga challenges…there are many options.

Wellness challenges will help employees remain intellectually and socially motivated. You can try workouts, cooking, online games, learning, or writing challenges that will boost morale and motivate teamwork.

Ensure financial wellness

Finance is one of the significant stressors today. Employers must ensure their employees’ dinancial wellness, especially during the time of COVID-19. Financial literacy is a must-know subject, and you must keep employees aware of wise financial practices.

Host informal online sessions

Keeping your employees entertained during these tough times can be a stress buster for them. It also nurtures the connection among team members. Hosting virtual events like laughter shows, virtual games, brainstorming sessions etc will bring them under one platform and will engage them.

Reward your employees

It is always good to reward and recognise your employees from time to time. Special incentives always contribute to a better workplace with an agile workforce. Employee rewards and recognition are the buzzwords in the human resource management space and the most substantial for employee engagement.

Host online sessions

Creating awareness on mental health issues is very vital now. When the leaders can build trust among their employees and encourage them to share their issues, whether or not they share, they feel a little relieved to realize having a shoulder. The HRs or the managers can invite guest speakers to host online sessions for effective stress relief procedures to help them relax and be more productive.

Wellness is a broad term with multiple dimensions. Employee wellness programmes are vital to attract top talent, keep them happy, and decrease employee turnover and absenteeism.

A healthy organisation starts with healthy employees; it safeguards company culture. Thus, prioritising employee wellness is crucial for growth and development.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YS.)

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