Conversations around employee wellness have been going around for a while now. Employees are encouraged to prioritize their well-being and ensure they maintain work life balance to take care of their physical and mental health. But is it only a one-way street? Can employees balance the pressures of work and life without the support of their employers? Perhaps not entirely. Which is why focus is also being put on what companies could do to enable employees to take care of themselves and make the workplace more conducive to holistic health.
As per Mercer report – ‘Healthy Minds at Work Assessment’, 64% employees in Hong Kong reported that mental health concerns had affected their productivity at work and burnt-out employees are more likely to take sick leave or leave their employers, increasing the costs of hiring, training new staff and even medical costs.
Here are some best practices that you can consider when enabling holistic employee wellness at your workplace:
Strong leadership sponsorship
One of the most crucial steps before beginning any wellness initiative is to have leadership buy-in. The leaders need to believe in the true purpose of these initiatives so that they can drive it across length and breadth of the company. Their sponsorship is not only limited to sanctioning budgets and providing resources but also in participating and encouraging their employees on showing up. It’s recommended to set an example and show how important it is to take out that little time for yourself and how beneficial it can be. Additionally, wellness is not something that can be driven solely by one department, say, the HR. In fact, it’s a collective responsibility of the leaders, managers, and employees themselves to show up and commit to their wellness goals.
Create a wellness committee
While executive buy-in is important, it’s equally important to bring together employees who are passionate about wellness and would be committed to encourage other employees as well. Reach out to a group of employees who would be dedicated in bringing wellness to your organization and help them form a committee. Allow them to be the champions of change and develop programs which are feasible, beneficial, and even fun. This committee could be responsible for doing surveys and figuring out what clicks with the employees and what do they really want when it comes to wellness. And the role of HR, one might ask, is to be the support system and offer guidance to the wellness committee to help the achieve their wellness goals.
Define wellness goals
With the wellness committee in place, the ideal next step would be set out realistic goals which will cater to genuine wellness concerns that might have come from the survey. It could be related to physical wellness – where the goal could be to bring about more movement or it could be around mental health or mindfulness. The idea is to have goals for which measured steps can be taken and then be benchmarked. It’s important to realize that the wellness committee shouldn’t be formed for a one-of initiatives and be done with. It’s to be maintained throughout the year which is why it’s needed to have a thought-out plan rather than adopting a piece meal approach.
Another aspect that can play a role in the success of your wellness program is effectively communicating to the organization about it. Communications effectively start when you begin surveying the employees. It’s important for them to know what you are setting out to achieve and what will be the result. Same, for all the wellness activities planned. If the employees are not made aware of what all is available to them or what they can take benefit from, there won’t be many employees showing up.
Request regular feedback
It’s important to understand what your employees want while developing and implementing a wellness program. Which is why it’s important to complete the loop and ask them their feedback to know what they liked and what can be improved to suit their needs better.
With all things in place, it’s equally important to offer a variety of programs which can cater to different employee needs and touch upon the different aspects of wellness. Here are some initiatives that you can consider when developing employee wellbeing programs.
- Conduct workout/movement challenges for healthy competition
- Yoga sessions or stretching breaks
- Half day hikes
- Conduct mindfulness and meditation sessions
- Encourage time-offs and breaks
- Promote hybrid working
- Provide lifestyle coaching
- Offer counselling support
- Provide relaxation spaces