Health and wellbeing have understandably been top of mind in recent months. In my inbox alone, there are countless messages that encourage me to take care of myself. What’s important about the call to “take care,” though, is the understanding that wellness means more than just physical health.
For organizations, that distinction is important. As employees shift to remote work, many of us can’t even access the office gym or healthy snacks that were cornerstones of wellness initiatives only months ago. Now, as staff adjust to uncertain times, hybrid teams and different workspaces, companies should re-examine health through a broader lens.
In the new work reality, wellness programs should become more holistic and expand beyond office walls to help staff truly take care of themselves wherever they are working.
The Impact of Employee Wellbeing on Business
Wellbeing is the experience of health, happiness and prosperity. It includes good mental health, life satisfaction, purpose and the ability to manage stress. Happiness doesn’t just support your employees’ sense of wellness, it also helps staff feel more engaged and interested in contributing to your organization’s success.
In fact, wellbeing can positively impact productivity, collaboration, innovation, customer loyalty, retention and organizational performance as studies by O.C. Tanner and the World Economic Forum in partnership with the London School of Economics have shown.
At Emergenetics, we know that every individual has their unique set of preferences, which means that there isn’t one approach that will fulfill the interests of 100% of your staff. And there are steps you can take to help all team members feel supported by offering a number of programs they can choose from.
How to Support Employee Wellness
I’ve identified five areas of focus and a few ideas for each that your organization can consider as you rethink or launch your offerings.
When team members are emotionally fulfilled, they can manage stress, understand and positively channel emotions and be resilient. Consider programs that:
- Support positive thinking
In our organization and our products, we utilize the “language of grace,” which means that our language and word choice is always affirming. Studies have shown how positive language supports psychology and more successful outcomes. By investing in tools that affirm your staff’s gifts and build positivity, you can help nurture wellbeing.
- Focus on mindfulness
Mindfulness allows employees to be fully present in the moment as well as gain a greater understanding of themselves and their emotional states. Consider providing tools to support mindfulness through training programs or by sharing relevant articles, apps and resources.
- Support emotional regulation
Managing emotion is a skill that helps individuals navigate stress and enhance wellness. One of the first building blocks of emotional regulation is having a strong sense of self-awareness. Assessments like the Emergenetics® Profile can provide your employees with the first steps to self-understanding. Download our recent eBook that promotes self-awareness to get started.
While all staff may not have access to a gym or fitness center, companies can still help individuals to improve physical health with initiatives that:
- Promote exercise challenges or events
Health challenges are all over social media right now, and they can be a fun (and funny) way to connect employees while enhancing fitness. If push-up competitions aren’t of interest, though, consider less strenuous challenges like walking, hydration or even taking time off! You may also sponsor a Zoom yoga or at-home workout session.
- Offer health stipends
A wellness stipend can provide your team members with greater flexibility over their health benefits. By offering a specific amount of money to your staff for wellness activities, they have greater freedom to spend the money on activities that meet their interests whether that be a gym membership, fitness classes, at-home workout equipment or something else.
- Engage your health insurance provider
Many insurance providers offer mobile apps, resources or online courses to engage participants in health initiatives that align with their specific interests. If you haven’t already, connect with your provider to see what may be available to share with your team.
Remote and on-site employees need to develop meaningful relationships with others and create a support network to enhance their social prosperity. Identify programs that:
- Support team building
Try simple activities like check-in questions at meetings or happy hours to build connections. You can also host more formal training programs. For example, our virtual workshops help team members get a better understanding of one another and identify practical applications to strengthen collaboration and connection.
- Practice gratitude
When your company culture positively recognizes and celebrates staff, employees tend to feel more appreciated and fulfilled at work. Encourage shout out’s in team meetings, create digital message boards where individuals can send kudos to one another or celebrate each other more publicly in company-wide gatherings.
- Cultivate positive manager-employee relationships
Managers play an influential role in their team members’ wellbeing. Provide your leaders with resources to help them build rapport, support staff needs and coach them for success. Download our guide for managers of virtual teams for more tips!
People thrive in workplaces that allow them to pursue their interests and find purpose and enrichment. Reflect on what programs you can launch that:
- Identify strengths
When individuals understand their gifts, they can use them to support their success and engage in more work that energizes them. Investing in programs like Emergenetics, which allow staff to recognize where their strengths lie and can help your team members find greater fulfillment in their jobs.
- Provide autonomy
When employees feel trusted and have some control over their jobs, their workplace wellness can increase. Empower managers with resources that help them mitigate micromanagement and build trust with team members. You may also allow for greater flexibility in your staff’s schedules to enhance their sense of autonomy.
- Create professional development opportunities
To help individuals continue to grow and find purpose in their work, invest in professional development. You may not always have funds to attend a conference or host a training. Still, you can get creative and support employees’ growth by providing resources, webinars and facilitating lunch-and-learns with staff experts.
Your organization can enhance societal wellbeing by building a thriving culture that supports your broader environment. Consider what initiatives you could introduce that:
- Prioritize company values
By connecting your work to the organization’s values and living them on a daily basis, you can build a positive, cohesive community for your staff. Identify company-wide or team-based programming that can call attention to your values and help individuals connect their roles to the ethos of your organization.
- Support the environment
Most companies have a desire to “go green.” Include employees in your initiatives by crowd-sourcing ideas or sharing specific action items they can follow in their work-from-home routines, in addition to any company-wide actions you’re taking, to support the environment.
- Encourage volunteering
Community involvement is increasingly important to employees, in particular millennials and Gen Z. Show your staff that you care about more than just work by supporting volunteering initiatives through company-sponsored events or by encouraging individuals to take time off to give back in ways that resonate with them.
Employee wellness initiatives continue to play an important role in organizational health, and as our companies adjust to new styles of working, we’ll continue to see these programs evolve to support a new sort of work experience. Start to enhance your staff’s prosperity by targeting a few of the areas listed above to design a wellness program that holistically supports your workers.
This post was written by Shana Bosler, Certified Emergenetics Associate of Emergenetics on Emergenetics website here. They are an exhibitor on the HRTech247 Employee Engagement floor. You can visit their HRTech247 exhibition stand here.