The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust numerous uncharted challenges upon various sectors. The staggering effect on workplaces has revealed, among other things, the importance of programs that promote employee health and well-being in this new context.
As the world slowly moves forward from the pandemic, businesses must evolve with the shifting needs of employees as they ease back into in-person work. An employee wellness program holistically addresses the concerns raised by the virus.
Employee wellness programs improve staff well-being, usually through preventive care and informative talks. These are helpful for both businesses and employees during this financially trying transition as a response to rising healthcare costs and increasing healthcare concerns.
What Do Your Employees Need Now?
Your company may have switched to remote work when the lockdowns initially took place. As restrictions began to loosen, you may then have adapted a hybrid setup that rotates between remote and office work. These constant adjustments due to regularly changing COVID-19 guidelines take some assistance to accustom employees to.
Here is how to approach your post-pandemic wellness program.
Ask your employees
The most important task is to understand what your employees need. That means the vital first step is to conduct interviews or surveys with employees to see their current concerns or areas of interest regarding their wellness.
An expectation is to be prepared to approach a physical therapy business to assist employees with certain issues. Remote work is likely to have aggravated body pains, specifically backaches, that will make therapy necessary to alleviate these chronic pains.
During this assessment period, ask your staff about the kind of physical programs they may need and if they will want to have mental health workshops.
Insights from employee surveys will inform the objectives of your wellness program. A key goal in the post-COVID-19 setting is to simplify the transition from remote to hybrid work. During this time, the need to ensure safety even after the pandemic remains a priority.
You should also have measurable objectives that are observable within a certain span of time. For example, the goal is to reduce the percentage of obesity by 10% after a specific number of months.
Set clear goals because they are easier to monitor and easier to achieve.
Design the program
Once you know employee expectations and measurable goals, designing the wellness program comes next. Your program can be simple and straightforward, but addressing the effects of the virus on the staff will require a more expansive program. In deciding which features to have, you should also consider the budget your company can allot into the whole project.
Make sure to discuss relevant health risk factors, which could tackle issues such as lack of physical activity, alcohol and smoking habits, stress management, and nutrition. There should also be sessions that provide practical knowledge on promoting physical and mental well-being to encourage the team to work together for better health.
How Do You Communicate Well?
Creating the employee wellness program is one challenge. But effectively communicating its purpose and goals is another.
Wellness programs indeed have observable positive results in workplaces. Before announcing it as a compulsory work activity, however, consider the consequences. Requiring employees to attend the program potentially turns its benefits into just another work objective, defeating its purpose of promoting wellness.
Instead of making it mandatory, attach incentives to it instead. Incentives raise participation rates without removing the choice from employees. Your system can exchange rewards for consistent attendance and continue to encourage employees to pursue healthy lifestyles.
Supplement physical sessions
You need not only stick with group exercise sessions that employees may get tired of quickly. In addition to these, allow your staff to attend short talks, webinars, or tutorials of interest to them.
For instance, invite a nutritionist and a chef to teach your team simple recipes that promote a balanced diet. Variety and creativity will keep employees interested in future sessions. They may even have helpful suggestions that you can take into account for a later time.
Use encouraging messaging
Fears caused by the virus and difficulty in adjusting to a new routine may be discouraging to employees. This is why it is necessary to take an uplifting tone for your wellness program.
Encourage it in employee newsletters, the examples of upper management, and supplying information when needed. Support your efforts with research, too, to demonstrate credibility.
More than a means to have more productive employees, view the program as an opportunity to recover from the pandemic as a team.