Stay Healthy Together: Promoting Wellness in the Virtual Workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the business landscape drastically in 2020. For one, the majority of the workforce is working from home. And this change may affect employees’ physical and mental well-being.

Globally, people are working longer hours than before since the pandemic started. This can lead to burnout and eventually affect other aspects of employees’ health. Thus, in part, managers, and employers, in general, need to proactively find ways to improve their employees’ health.

The Importance of Promoting Wellness Among Employees

Every year, thousands of workers’ compensation claims, including short-term and long-term disability benefits, are filed. Many of them are caused by freak accidents, such as slips and falls.

But some issues could’ve been addressed early on if companies promoted wellness to their employees. For example, musculoskeletal disorders, such as back pain and spinal injuries, often occur because of improper ergonomics in workplaces. Mental illnesses also develop due to work-related stress.

By promoting health and wellness among employees, companies will avoid certain problems like absenteeism and high turnover rates. Companies can also save money on healthcare costs.

Strategies to Promote Wellness

Managers need to promote active living to their employees to keep them healthy, both in mind and body.

Promote Work-Life Balance

Employee burnout results in exhaustion and weakens the body. So employees become more vulnerable to illnesses. Thus, the first thing you can do is keep your employees healthy to ensure they get enough rest.

For example, avoid assigning tasks to employees towards the end of their shift. When you do, your email indicates that you want them to work extra hours, which can lead to stress. Also, avoid sending emails outside working hours. If there is an urgent task that you want your employee to prioritize in their next shift, consider scheduling the email to be sent at the start of their next workday.

If you notice employees still online or doing work even after their work hours, remind them that they can already log off. This simple gesture will show your employees that you care for their well-being.

Provide Wellness Resources

Another way to promote wellness is by providing resources to employees. For example, you might recommend mindfulness apps, such as Headspace and Calm. Mindfulness refers to staying present and focusing on the moment. And it’s shown to improve both physical and mental health.

You can also send weekly email blasts with helpful information. For instance, you can share tips to relieve stress, easy but healthy recipes they could try, and simple exercise routines they could do during work breaks.

Start a Fitness Community Within the Company

You can also start a fitness community within the organization. A community can be motivating and encourage a person to stick to their wellness goals. Employees will be more willing to participate if their work friends are also joining. In turn, they can become accountability buddies and support each other.

Within this community, you can do workouts together. Perhaps you can start a challenge where employees should walk or run for 20 to 30 minutes. Encourage them to send photos or videos so that everyone can celebrate their small wins together. You can also schedule a virtual group exercise. Participants will follow an exercise routine together through a Zoom call. You might even send a calendar invite as you would an important meeting to emphasize the importance of this exercise session.

You can also share tips and pieces of advice with each other. Perhaps someone is having trouble managing their stress. Someone else in the community can help them find an effective stress relief strategy. Or if a work problem causes the stress, the team can work together to address it.

Keep Steady Communication with Employees

Regular check-ins with your employees are also important. It doesn’t have to be done every day since this frequency can be easily misinterpreted as micromanaging. Instead, you can check on them weekly, perhaps during the middle of the week or towards the end.

Ask them if they are having any issues with work or personal problems that you might help with. But some employees might not be willing to open up, especially to someone they consider their boss. As such, you need to be a little vulnerable and open up. This way, employees will also be more comfortable sharing their personal stories with you.

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Promoting holistic wellness to your employees will show that you value your employees. And this gesture will definitely benefit your company in the long run. Healthier employees can work more efficiently. Companies can also save money by reducing attrition rates and healthcare costs.

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