Managing Employee Health and Wellness During the Pandemic

Managing Employee Health and Wellness During the Pandemic

2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety for employees around the world. As we begin to step out of the pandemic’s shadow, employers have become more sensitive to employee health and well-being. 

Not only does poor physical and mental health negatively affect job performance, but it also contributes to struggles like burnout, feelings of isolation, or constant worrying. Encourage health and well-being in your employees by keeping the following in mind:

Maintain Good Communication

You can help your employees defeat feelings of isolation by establishing several communication channels between employer and employees, between departments, and between individuals. Check in with your employees regularly, and encourage them to do the same for one another. 

Some workplace environments frown on conversations related to mental health, but the real problems emerge when we can’t talk about how we’re feeling. Try to develop an open environment where your employees and even you feel comfortable discussing the emotional aspects of work and life. 

We’re not encouraging you to host a week-long meditation or even get overly personal. Simply let it be known that your workplace won’t shun or shame employees for struggling with mental health. Sometimes, all it takes for someone to feel better is to say aloud, “this sucks,” and get the simple affirming response of “yes, it does.”

Support Your Remote Workers

Although some Canadians have returned to the office, many job positions have converted into full-time remote positions. Remote workers tend to enjoy more flexibility, but they are also vulnerable to adverse effects. 

Since the pandemic began, remote workers have noticed a collapse of the boundary between work life and home life, causing added stress and other mental health concerns. Remote employees work where they live, have children who were, or still studying from home, and dealing with the isolation around Covid 19 as well.  Keep the following in mind to help your employees find better balance:

Encourage Self-Care

Instead of commending an employee for working overtime every day this week, gently nudge them toward self-assessment and self-care. An overworked employee risks burnout, which only intensifies anxiety and precipitates physical illness. 

Of course, you can and should applaud hard work, but don’t forget to encourage self-care. If you notice an employee has been sprinting at full speed for a while, encourage them to jog for a bit to catch their breath.

Provide Encouragement, Gratitude and Feedback

One of the most significant things you can do for your employees is to make them feel appreciated. When employees feel appreciated, they work harder, find more satisfaction in their jobs, and find it easier to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

When you take the time to tell an employee, “great job with this client” or “I’m so glad to have you on my team,” it boosts their morale. Direct feedback lets employees know how they are doing, which eases anxiety and encourages overall employee health and well-being.

Help with Home-Office Equipment

Although some remote workers have designated offices, many have taken over kitchen tables or tight corners for working at home. The dining room table may be comfortable for a meal, but the lack of ergonomic furniture and ample equipment takes its toll when working full-time. 

If possible, help your employees create more comfortable at-home work environments by allowing them to take home specific furniture and equipment. Things like ergonomic keyboards and chairs and additional computer monitors can help your employees create more comfortable and productive home office spaces.

Model Good Health and Well-Being

Employees look to you as the senior leader in the company, so it’s essential to talk about wellness and model self-care. Open communication will help you demonstrate self-care. Actions like using vacation days, exercising in the company gym, or even eating well-balanced lunches show your team that you’re committed to your well-being.

Give your employees tips, and share resources like this excellent blog post by Insurdinary about getting back to life after COVID-19. It discusses the importance of getting enough sleep, staying physically active, and other important self-care methods.

Train Supervisors in Mental Well-Being

Some of us have personal or professional experience promoting good mental health, but many do not. You can host mental health training to teach your supervisors how to support your employees’ mental well-being. 

Good training helps your supervisory staff understand how to recognize and address employee issues like stress, anxiety, and burnout. You and your management team will also learn how to model mental wellness and resilience. Remember that your supervisors need support, too, and you can help encourage mental well-being in one another.

Continually Assess Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a good work-life balance is essential for employee health and well-being. Helping employees maintain a healthy balance requires regular monitoring, but employers sometimes assume they already know what an employee needs instead of asking. 

Conduct anonymous pulse surveys to check in on how employees feel and where they need more support. Pay attention to staff members who seem overworked, as this is one of the main risk factors for burnout.

End Every Day with a Bookend

You can encourage work-life balance by helping employees end their workdays with “bookends.” A good end-of-day routine helps employees (especially remote workers) create workday boundaries that separate work life and home life. 

Some examples of end-of-day bookends include updating to-do lists, submitting production reports, spending time to reflect, or socializing with colleagues. Some digital team services have added virtual commute features to help employees structure their workdays.

Consider Well-Being in Reviews

As an employer, you probably conduct regular performance reviews. Instead of dedicating the entire process to providing employee feedback, use this time to assess employee mental health. Ask your workers how they’re feeling and what you can do to help.

You want your employees to feel valued and heard, and reviews offer the perfect opportunity to have open and honest conversations. The simple act of asking an employee how they’re feeling shows them you consider them a valuable part of the business. 

If your current process includes only annual reviews, consider increasing review frequency or incorporating less formal check-ins. A lot happens within a year, and your employees may benefit more from quarterly or monthly conversations.

Offer Health Promotion Programs

A 2020 study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence surveyed people from around the world and found that 76% of workers believe their companies need to do more to protect mental health. 

You can promote a healthy workplace by offering health promotion programs for physical and mental health. This may be as simple as hosting professionals for guided exercises during lunch breaks or might involve incorporating a staff of counselors and psychologists. You may even provide subscriptions to meditation apps or other digital resources.

10 Best Stress Management Tools for Employees

Learn more about managing employee stress in this great read.

Group Enroll: Group Health Insurance Broker

Encourage good employee health and well-being by providing the best group benefits plan. Find an employee insurance plan with extended health care benefits to help your employees afford critical services like chiropractic care and psychological therapy. Be sure to train your employees on using their insurance plans, so they get the most from their benefits.

Group Enroll is a top insurance broker located at 10 Great Gulf Drive, Unit 5 in Vaughan, ON L4K 0K7. We can help you find the ideal group health insurance for your company by helping you compare quotes from top providers like Desjardins, Blue Cross, and Sun Life Financial.

Get started today by filling out this request form. You can also reach us via email at [email protected].

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