As businesses are reopening after their bout with the pandemic lockdown, employers are coming up with distinct back-to-work strategies. Fortunately, employers have recognized employee health and wellbeing as a crucial factor for workplace engagement and productivity. Employee wellness initiatives and workplace benefits and services are the top priority now.
Many surveys have proven how crucial it is to embrace humanity and employee wellbeing, especially during unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Human resources are now prioritizing employee wellness programs as an integral part of workplace policies to ensure engagement and productivity.
Even before the pandemic, workplace wellness programs benefitted employers and employees. SHRM defines workplace wellness programs as any corporate wellness initiatives that promote and improve employee holistic health. A RAND Corp report showed that for every dollar spent on employee wellness, there was an overall ROI of $1.50. Similarly, a Harvard study showed a $2.73 drop in absenteeism costs and a $3.27 fall in healthcare costs for every dollar spent on employee wellbeing. Considering these facts are important now than ever since experts have revealed a 5.3% rise in healthcare costs in 2021.
With 2021 soon approaching, here are few ways for employee wellness programs to evolve beyond employee assistance programs, diet programs, and gym memberships.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Before the pandemic, not many employers considered remote working as an option. A request to work-from-home came with uneasy decisions from the management. However, now the nature of work has changed and employers are approving remote working requests more readily. Studies have shown that with flexible working arrangements, employee productivity is bound to thrive.
Employee Mental Wellness Support
The pandemic has stressed employees and impacted their mental health. Juggling between multiple responsibilities, employees are finding it hard to have a proper work-life balance. Employers can offer stress management and mental wellness resources to help employees cope with their pressures. Right from expert consultations to counseling sessions, mental wellness programs, and other educational resources, employers can include different approaches to address employee mental health issues. Employers can also expand their wellness services by offering corporate benefits of online courses like LivingEasy from SelfHelpWorks and trackers like Fitbit.
Redefining Sick and Paid Leaves Policy
Sick leaves owing to physical illnesses are often a part of the workplace strategies in many companies. However, it is not easy to get paid leaves for mental health issues. While not many employees know that they can avail their paid leaves for mental health and stress-related issues, employers do not take mental illness as a valid reason to access paid leaves. It is high time employers bought changes to these policies. They must prioritize all aspects of employee wellbeing and make the policies and their benefits clear to the workforce.
Recreational Wellness Challenges For Employee Engagement
Wellness challenges are an integral part of most well-designed corporate wellness programs. Incorporating fun activities as wellness challenges can be a great diversion from work stress, boost employee engagement, and also improve holistic wellbeing. However, with the pandemic restricting socializing, employees are finding it difficult to look for wellness activities at home that can relieve them of stress. Employers can schedule wellness activities on workdays to ensure employees get their time for recreation and wellness. Stretch breaks, meditation sessions, 15-minute guided breathing breaks, 5-minute neck and lateral stretching breaks, and likewise could do wonders to employee health and wellbeing.
Social Recognition Programs
Businesses are not run by a single person. For a company to function and grow, it takes a whole team of hard-working individuals. When trusted employees come together to work together as a team, it reflects in the best work and productivity. Although acknowledging individual efforts is important, it is equally crucial to acknowledge teamwork, making them feel like a single body at work. Cultivating a sense of connection among the employees boosts engagement and builds stronger teams. Social recognition programs can acknowledge and celebrate employee accomplishments.
New technologies emerge all the time, and companies must leverage modern wellness technology to ensure business growth on multiple fronts. Employees are no more considered as just resources. They are the building blocks of businesses, and their health and wellness reflect in workplace engagement, productivity, and growth. Building a higher Employee Value Proposition (EVP) by implementing corporate wellness programs with the right modules is essential for workplace wellness. With the crisis reforming workplace policies, employers must take into consideration the minutiae of employee wellness and strategize actionable plans for workplace productivity and wellbeing.