Workplace Wellness: Here’s how to ensure employees’ wellness in testing times

Natashya Phillips Coutinho has shared some ways to promote employee wellness in testing times. Read on to know more.

Working although from the comforts of home has its own set of challenges. Employees during this time are more prone to feeling isolated, disconnected, overworked, and are sometimes unable to manage a balance between work and personal life. This, if not taken care can trickle down and manifest into poor emotional and physical health – leading to a loss of health, motivation, interest, productivity, and impact on the company’s performance as a whole. 

For a company to prosper during times like these, employee wellness is critical, and unfortunately, very few companies and organizations look at the true wellness and wellbeing of their employees. Since we as a company focus so much on wellbeing and our vision is to add value to every client /patient that comes to us, when it comes to disease and recovery of the clients, work-life balance of our team members is of prime importance to us, as the team needs to be motivated, happy, healthy and well-rested themselves in order to do the same for our clients.

While it may take more effort and investment to engage and promote wellness for employees, during times like this, it is definitely worth it.

Here are some ways one can look at promoting employee wellness in testing times:

Prioritizing important and urgent tasks- The one thing that has worked really well during these times is to help the team prioritize what is urgent and what is important. A lot of us have a new set of concerns that we are faced with now especially since we also do not have house help to rely on and have to do a lot of these household chores ourselves. 

Meetings and training sessions that are not the need of the hour can be put on hold during such times. Since so many of us are juggling both the home and work front, instead of pulling out someone for 1 hour of training or meetings could be utilized more effectively towards the needs and concerns of clients.

Work pressure and load – Workload and pressure exist in every organization, but an unmanaged one could be hurtful to one’s health. The human resources and management of the company can look at managing this by – 

1. Distributing tasks within teams so that there is no load on one particular employee

2. Designating tasks effectively

3. Cut down on unwanted activities that aren’t necessary and take uptime

4. Identify training needs if there is a skill issue for an employee that is taking time to complete a certain task and is thus creating pressure. It could be something as simple as learning how to manage time

5. Keeping an open form of communication within the team so people know they can approach us with the smallest of issues and they have someone who can hear them out

Flexible timings/slots – Flexibility works for everyone!  In times like these more focus should be given to productivity and getting work done instead of the number of hours put in.  Employees can work in shifts if there is enough staff so that each of them can also fulfil their wellbeing needs.

Honour work timings – Work timings are not just for clients the company services; it holds true for employees too. Given that work is always going to be there when at home, sometimes crossing work hours can be very easy. Late-night projects, work-related messages, emails, calls, meetings mustn’t be encouraged unless something is very urgent. 

Adhering to work timings and refraining from exchanging work-related information also helps keep the environment professional, maintains work-life balance, and helps set the right expectation between employees and clients as well as between employees.

In addition to daily work timings, Sundays or weekly offs must also be honoured and companies must encourage the employees to use that time off to rest, relax, rejuvenate, spend time with family, etc because this is a huge step to avoid work-from-home burnout.

Online yoga, meditation, and counselling sessions – Mental health of employees is as important as physical health. Today, the world is operating online and so are yoga teachers, meditation experts, and other fitness experts. It could be worthwhile for a company to invest in organising an online yoga/meditation or fitness session for the employees so as to create a holistic work environment for them even while they work from home.

The sessions could be special to topical subjects like immunity, emotional health, stress management, eye- health, breathing exercises, home workouts, sleep management – so maximum employees can connect and reap benefits. If companies are running low on budgets, identify in-house talents, and try conducting sessions within the team.

Encourage fitness – Jobs have become sedentary as ever nowadays and a 2018 survey said that an employee can end up sitting for 1,700 hours a year! The couch – potato lifestyle is linked to every single health condition right from neck and back pains to sciatica to obesity and indigestion. Most companies today have employee health as a part of KRA i.e. key responsibility area, which is tracked and measured so as to ensure both the company and employee is serious about health. 

Apart from that breaks must be encouraged in between work timings because prolonged hours of sitting can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. Regular breaks to stretch, touch toes, grab some water are little things that can be encouraged by the company as it could improve employee health dramatically.

Improved connectivity – Lack of connectivity and communication is an unwanted side effect of working within the comforts of home. Employees can feel isolated, unheard, and lonely.  Communication is of utmost importance. Thus, the employees must be allowed an open platform for communicating their work challenges and troubles. Weekly or monthly reviews must not be just about their performances and escalations, it must also be about interacting and problem-solving that might be bothering a certain employee. 

Use communication tools like Skype, Google, Hangouts, Zoom to interact. In fact, if possible, turning on video features instead of audio can also go a long way in making employees feel connected even though remotely. Research shows how face-to-face online contact can reduce the risk of depression by offering a sense of connectedness. This may sound simple but can have a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of employees during this time. 

Rewards and appreciation – Feeling appreciated is a human need. It is normal to crave for it. The power of appreciation doesn’t cost a penny but goes a long way in making employees feel better about themselves and the work they do.  Companies must look at appreciating their employees via various modes.

It could be via email, a token, an appreciation note in a workgroup, through a phone call, or a reward in any form. Every company has the power to change the lives of its employee in one second with appreciation. Sometimes that’s all the employees need. It is not always about salary hikes and pays raises. This is the power of words. Small yet powerful steps and initiatives like these can ensure a healthy work environment for employees as well as bosses.

By Ms. Natashya Phillips Coutinho, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems Pvt. Ltd.

ALSO READ: Experiencing negativity during work from home phase? Here’s how to minimise it

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