Post COVID-19: What’s the Future of Well-Being in the Workplace? – Part 2

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Wellness programs have existed for decades. Although the word wellness has changed to well-being, the reality is that it hasn’t changed much at its core. Wellness or well-being initiatives still remain centered in most organizations around physical health, with the sole focus on reducing the employer’s overall insurance premium and the employees’ claims. These old-school and outdated initiatives are not addressing the growing and biggest issue, which is the emotional well-being and mental health of the employees.

Organizations must embrace a fully holistic approach to employee well-being, centered around:

Physical well-being

Beyond the traditional wellness program where employees are asked to walk 10000 steps a day for 3 months, participate in one local walk/race, have an annual health check-up and two dentist visits per year (only to have a slight discount on their insurance premium), organizations need to focus on the design of their workplace – beyond the safety requirements – to entice people to move more frequently and more purposefully.

For instance, in your office space, have the meeting rooms far enough from the employees’ desks so that they have to walk for 5 minutes to get to a meeting (and factor that ‘commute’ time in your meeting time going in, and going out). If meetings happen back-to-back, schedule them in two different rooms to allow people to get up and walk in between. During the meeting, alternate sitting and standing positions for everyone. If your employees work remotely, encourage them to have a walk around the house for 5 minutes before and after the meeting, and alternate sitting and standing as well, even on Zoom.

Another example is to have ‘take-a-walk’ meetings, where you set the expectations that all participants must take a walk while attending the meeting. You record the meeting, so there is no need for a note taker. If your team is in the office, hold the meeting outside when possible.

Emotional well-being

Work/life balance is dead. Work/life integration is the norm. COVID19 has been the accelerator of this trend. Whether teams moved to remote work, or team members have been affected by furloughs or lay-offs, the emotional toll on your people can’t be ignored. Whatever happens at home impacts how we perform at work, and whatever happens are work impacts how we behave at home. Remote work has its perks, but also its challenges. No commute time is great, but it doesn’t allow your people to decompress before going home. If you work from home, the only separation between work and home is the door of your bedroom, office or basement. You don’t have 30-60 minutes of commute to disconnect mentally from work and think about home. I know of some people working from home that still ‘commute’, meaning they drive the car for 10 minutes or so around the neighborhood (from home to home), but it gives them the time to disconnect from ‘work’ to ‘home’.

Leaders have to look for ways to support their people inside AND outside of work. And that’s what LifeGuides is all about. It’s about connecting your team members with other human beings (people like you and me, not therapists or mental health professionals), people who’ve been in your employees’ shoes before, have overcome a similar life event where they are now in a place of resilience, positivity and want to share their experience with your team members going through similar challenges. LifeGuides has created a place of empathy, of listening, of support and accountability to help your people navigate through stressful times, build resilience, overcome these challenges and bring the best version of themselves to work.

Spiritual well-being

A key element to creating a sense of belonging is to be aware and respect the spiritual well-being of your people. Whether it is connected to religion, to mindfulness, or any spirituality in general, it’s important to recognize these cultural differences and provide flexibility for all your people to observe various religious holidays (not just the Christian ones), such as giving floating days in you don’t make it a company’s ‘official’ holiday. You can also have a non-denominated space in your workplace dedicated to any spiritual beliefs, where people can take a few moments in private to reflect or pray.

Spiritual well-being

A key element to creating a sense of belonging is to be aware and respect the spiritual well-being of your people. Whether it is connected to religion, to mindfulness, or any spirituality in general, it’s important to recognize these cultural differences and provide flexibility for all your people to observe various religious holidays (not just the Christian ones), such as giving floating days in you don’t make it a company’s ‘official’ holiday. You can also have a non-denominated space in your workplace dedicated to any spiritual beliefs, where people can take a few moments in private to reflect or pray.

By Stephan Vincent – Sr. Director, Client and Community Experience at LifeGuides

How critical to you and your business is the well-being of your people?

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