August is observed as the National Wellness Month in the whole of the US, and it calls to recognize the importance of holistic health. With the COVID-19 pandemic turning the tables like never before, there is never a better time to prioritize our health and take adequate steps to improve our overall wellbeing.
Wellness is more than just eating well and getting done with your recommended physical activity. Holistic wellness is all about your health and wellness in more than one dimension. Apart from a good diet and regular exercise, holistic wellness can be achieved by following healthy habits for everyday wellbeing like healthier lifestyle habits, stress management, better sleep, and more.
With the current COVID-19 situation stressing out employees in different ways, it has taken a toll on their overall health, affecting their engagement and overall organizational productivity levels. This is when employers need to support and offer the right resources to their workforce to ensure employee health and wellness, along with better engagement and productivity.
Employee engagement is the key to overall workplace wellness and a positive culture of health at the company. Engaging employees to follow everyday wellbeing behaviors can go a long way in preventing many chronic health conditions, keep them healthy, boost their productivity, and reduce healthcare costs. By implementing the right employee engagement strategies and by offering suitable wellness tools and resources, employers can help their workforce in achieving holistic wellness.
Healthy Diet and Eating Habits
Food strongly influences health and wellness. The web is full of fad diets and trends that promise losing weight soon and energize instantly. However, it depletes your health, making you realize it was just a myth. Also, with most employees working remotely, binge eating becomes easier. Offering nutrition-based wellness challenges and activities can motivate employees to make healthier eating choices. Seeking assistance from a professional nutritionist to customize meal plans can also be fruitful to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Physical Health and Better Sleep
In short, physical health implies living a healthy life with good lifestyle habits that allow normal and smooth functioning of the body and mind. In addition to the other healthy everyday wellbeing habits, exercise and sleep are crucial for holistic wellness. No wonder, people have been advocating regular physical activity and adequate sleep for good health for decades.
Employers can offer employee wellness programs that include fitness classes and wellness challenges to improve physical activity. Allowing them to choose from a wide array of options will help them choose the challenge or activity that is best suited to them. Bringing a health coach on board can further aid in guiding the employees through their wellness journey. Also, offering rewards and incentives are excellent employee engagement strategies that motivate employees to participate and reach their set goals.
Many recent studies have shown that a majority of the employees are stressed due to the current COVID-19 outbreaks – working remotely, household responsibilities, and the uncertainties of the present circumstances. Since stress and most mental illnesses do not show many evident symptoms, they are usually brushed away without being addressed, which in the long run, can cause serious mental health issues. Studies show that mental illnesses invited healthcare costs of around $139 billion annually.
Achieving mindfulness is essential to curtail stress and relax the body and mind. This creates awareness of the state of mind and body, thus, improving focus and concentration, reflecting in better productivity. By offering stress management and mental wellness challenges, employers can help employees to relieve stress and improve their emotional wellbeing.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Studies show that 1 in 5 deaths in the USA alone are caused due to smoking, and only 4% – 7% of smokers can give up their habit without assistance. Similarly, high alcohol consumption is also related to many health issues. Employers need to take adequate measures to motivate and empower employees to help them quit smoking, drink responsibly, or make other lifestyle and behavioral changes. Offering relevant wellness programs for smoking cessation or responsible drinking will not only improve the overall health of the workforce, but will also decrease healthcare costs and boost productivity.
Disease Management Programs
The current COVID-19 situation has drawn everyone’s attention to the significance of leading a healthy and safe life, along with the insights into the healthcare system, and the need to take care of employee health and wellness. Employers need to take adequate efforts to protect their workforce from at least the basic chronic health conditions, including occupational disorders like musculoskeletal conditions, and the best way to do so is by engaging them in tailored disease management wellness programs. Along with improving employee health and wellness, it will also help in reducing healthcare costs.
Financial Wellness Programs
In addition to the mental stress and health issues, COVID-19 has also impacted the economy badly. Many have lost their jobs or had to take a pay cut, which has affected the net family income. Financial stress has become one of the prominent contributors to mental health issues, and many employees have agreed that finances were a major reason for stress. Employers can help their employees overcome it by offering suitable financial wellness programs, financial guidance from consultants, financial benefits like HSA contributions, better healthcare premiums, 401(k) plans, and other finance-related employee benefits and perks.
In addition to the above-mentioned approaches, employers can also seek feedback from their employees to know their health and wellness needs, and offer relevant workplace benefits and perks.
By knowing employee health and wellness needs, you can tailor your employee wellness programs to meet their demands and requirements. Using state-of-art wellness technology to build the wellness platform will make it easier with your corporate wellness goals of enhancing employee engagement and helping your workforce achieve holistic wellness.