Workplace wellness is an important and imperative topic in 2020 given the COVID Pandemic. Employers are concerned about the health and well being of their staff, which is even more difficult when their team is working remotely.
However, workplace wellness programs must be implemented with the right strategy. Hear from Elysia Hegarty, a workplace wellness expert on strategies you can use to implement an effective workplace wellness program into your company.
What is Workplace Wellness
Workplace wellness has different definitions for different people.
To Elysia, workplace wellness means using a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of the employees. This process is in collaboration with the employer and the employee.
In fact, workplace wellness goes beyond the context of our physical and mental wellness. In fact, it spans across eight dimensions that Elysia focuses on. Effective wellness programs require taking a strategic approach that goes beyond educating employees.
Dimensions of Workplace Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness – Shared Purpose.
Shared Commitment to something greater than yourself.
- Intellectual Wellness – Shared Knowing.
Employees know what is expected and know how to manage their workload. This requires consistent and repetitive communication. To illustrate: Employees know what is happening and how to handle what is happening.
- Occupational Wellness – Shared Sense of Job Security.
Employees know that everything will be fine. Employees agree on expectations and know they can deliver in spite of everything else going on around them.
- Environmental Wellness – Shared ability to work from anywhere.
Managers are cognizant of everyone’s individual circumstances so they can support each employee in his/her individual workspace need.
- Social Wellness – Shared Interactions.
Maintaining social connections. For example, attending social events, social “gatherings.”
- Financial Wellness – Shared Financial Abilities.
Addressing financial stress. For example, financial support for those struggling.
- Physical Wellness- Shared physical health.
Taking care of one’s physical health through nutrition, exercise, taking breaks, and sleeping properly.
- Emotional Wellness – Shared Emotional Well-Being.
Lastly, supporting mental and emotional states of anxiety, worry, stress through strengthening resilience.
How to Build an Effective Workplace Wellness Program
Program is Created by Employees
The first reason why wellness programs often aren’t effective is because the way they are created and initiated. Workplace wellness programs often start from the top of the organization or HR. Research shows an increase in the effectiveness of the program when all employees are involved in the creation of the wellness program
Program is Part of the Culture
Second, traditional wellness programs will focus on mitigating the employee (eat well, exercise) but the program needs to be built into the culture. Wellness also must fit in the recruitment strategy, induction process, and how managers emphasize wellness inside the culture.
Program Is Continual
Lastly, Leadership needs to focus on tracking data, measuring outcomes regularly and continuous improvement.
Workplace Wellness Areas of Concern through the COVID Pandemic
One of the biggest concerns in wellness due to the COVID pandemic is by far mental health. Currently, there is a huge impact for HR professionals that are dealing with mental health because they are the front lines of organizations. Also, now HR professional burnout is a huge concern.
Other areas of concern through the COVID Pandemic are:
- Spiritual Wellness – Distraction, losing focus on what is most important in life.
- Social Wellness – Loneliness and not being able to get together.
- Intellectual Wellness –How to manage workload.
- Emotional Wellness – Stress, uncertainty, world and political events,
- Environmental Wellness – Lack of travel, inability to work in the office.
- Financial Wellness – not making enough money.
- Physical Wellness – staying healthy, sleeping well, eating well.
- Occupational Wellness- job insecurity, work overload.
Workplace Wellness Concerns Per Generation
When it comes to workplace wellness concerns, each generation’s health needs are different. For example, here are some key areas to focus on with each Generation:
First: GEN Z (Age Group: Early 20’s)
Young adults could be facing greater concerns in the areas of intellectual wellness, occupational wellness, social wellness. To illustrate, the Gen Z workforce has had to significantly change their lifestyle since the onset of the COVID pandemic.
Second: Millennials/Gen X:
Second, Millennials and GenX could be facing greater concerns in the are of financial wellness. For example, families who recently bought a house and have young children have financial needs to support them.
Last: Older Gen X & Boomers:
Equally important, older generations could be facing greater needs in the area of social wellness in terms of providing and caring for older loved ones.
Tips for Increasing Workplace Wellness
First, consider if your workload is causing people to burn out. Employees need to set boundaries to avoid burnout. For example, some strategies include removing work apps off your phone and setting boundaries for your work schedule.
A second strategy is also journaling. There is so much going on inside our heads. Journaling helps us process these thoughts, feelings, emotions, consider solutions and reflect. Focus on things that are going well, consider writing about topics like gratitude or whatever is on your mind. Finally, writing things down, (with an ancient tool called the pen and paper) helps force reflection and can benefit your own wellness.
Providing Carer’s Leave
The third strategy employers can consider is leave for someone taking care of an elderly parent or family member. For example, if a family member becomes ill with COVID, employees can take care of them to help them get well.
Lastly, one strategy that many companies are implementing is providing counseling for employees experiencing burnout.
About Elysia Hegarty
With over 15 years’ experience in Human Resource Management and the Wellness Industry Elysia has combined her expertise to partner with businesses to help develop strategies to attract, engage and retain employees. Additionally, Elysia helps promote a healthy workforce that supports business needs and enhances productivity and engagement. She does this through a range of strategies including workshops, speaking engagements, workplace wellness strategies and diagnostic assessments.
Elysia also currently leads the strategic wellness service offering within Cpl’s Future of Work Institute. Leading the development of a Bespoke Wellness Diagnostic Tool helping businesses identify areas within the organization that are contributing to stress and unwellness across 8 dimensions of wellness. She is a frequent contributor to blogs and papers and authors articles and white papers on the topic of Strategic Wellness as well as frequently speaking at multiple organizations, festivals, networking groups and conferences on the topics of strategic wellness, energy and performance and employer proposition.
To Connect with Elysia Hegarty:
Workplace Wellness White Papers
Workplace Wellness Quotes
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