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A NEW FOCUS ON EMPLOYEE WELLBEING

by | Mar 26, 2021

April is stress management month, which is particularly relevant as we begin to emerge from a year-long pandemic. April is also the month when many employees will have completed their second vaccine for Covid-19, which may relieve some of the stress we’ve all been feeling. That alone may increase employees’ sense of wellbeing.

Yet we can’t assume that mental health issues that might have surfaced over the past 12 months of the pandemic will instantly resolve with that second jab. Employees struggling with anxiety, depression and other issues may still need professional help with those challenges.

From stress to mental health to wellbeing

Increasingly, the definition of wellness at work is expanding to include mental health. Your benefits program or Employee Assistance Program may offer support that employees might not have needed before — but could find useful now. According to Forrester, almost half of employees seeking mental health services start the search through their employer.

If we take the expanding definition of wellness further, we can widen the focus to include employee wellbeing. Gallup makes a nice case for why this makes sense for companies, not just in terms of engagement and productivity, but in cost savings as well. (For more on why wellness programs are more important now than ever, see this post on ragan.com)

Try a wellbeing week

If you’d like to introduce the notion of employee wellbeing as a business priority at your company, you might use stress management month as a reason to schedule a well-being week. If you already have a safety week or fitness week or some other internal promotion, you could model it after that. Otherwise, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

If most employees are currently working remotely due to the pandemic, your well-being week can take place online. Have someone from Learning and Development provide video conference lunch and learns on topics ranging from improving sleep quality to reducing social media usage to developing a meditation practice. Promote these events on the intranet, in your internal newsletter and possibly by email.

For employees who are working onsite, you can offer in-person lunch and learns, group stretch breaks or yoga moves, or host a wellbeing breakfast, lunch or snack break.

You could also ask employees to share what wellbeing means for them, and their tips for achieving it. This could be by asking employees to post short videos, or just their comments on Yammer, Teams or whatever channel makes sense at your company. For one employee, it might be morning walks in the park with her dog. For another, it could be the welcome work of gardening in the spring sunshine. Some employees might share how exercise, or meditation or yoga help them maintain a sense of wellbeing.

Get the executive leadership team involved by having them include the importance of employee wellbeing as a topic in the next town hall. They might also include reminders of employee benefits that support wellbeing, from meditation or mindfulness programs on your wellness app to online or phone appointments for therapy or counseling.

What we all need now

All this can be framed in context of the stress of the past year, and our collective hope for coming through this in good shape. Some employees may need more support than others after the stress of the pandemic, but almost all of us could use a reminder of how important it is to make our own wellbeing a priority.

If you’re interested in developing a wellbeing week for your employees, Tribe can help.

 

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