Staying Well While Staying Home
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of how Arizona companies conduct business, including the types of wellness initiatives for employees offered to keep the workforce healthy.
While millions of Americans already performed their jobs from home before the virus arrived, tens of millions more suddenly found themselves thrown into the unfamiliar world of remote work. Not only has this change presented challenges for employees, but working remotely has also forced employers to make considerable adjustments to ensure that their workforce remains productive and accountable when scattered in hundreds of different locations. Smart AZ employers recognize the impact that employees’ health and well-being have on the business bottom line, which is why so many companies have well-established wellness initiatives.
However, wellness initiatives for employees have traditionally relied heavily on in-person, on-site involvement, leveraging teamwork, camaraderie, and friendly competitiveness to boost participation. Due to COVID-19, these conventional approaches may no longer work, especially as lockdowns, social isolation, and the inherent sedentary risks of being home all the time make staying healthy even more difficult.
Fortunately, companies in Arizona and across the country are adapting wellness initiatives for employees to account for an all-remote or mostly virtual workforce. Here are four ways that employers can help their homebound workers stay mentally and physically fit.
Establish A Remote Health and Wellness Hub
Companies can use the same tools and technology that facilitated the transition to remote work to establish virtual wellness initiatives for employees. An excellent way to start is by creating an online health and well-being hub designed to encourage wellness activities and provide health resources to the workforce. For instance, a good place to start might be setting up a shared Google Drive folder or Slack channel that contains information and links to exercise and nutrition videos and articles, as well as a place for employees to share healthy recipes, exercise tips, and their own wellness ideas.
Sponsor Virtual Fitness and Wellness Classes
The pandemic has made Zoom and similar platforms indispensable ways to communicate, conduct business, and get things done. But this technology isn’t just for tedious meetings.
Employers can use Zoom to host fitness classes, seminars, and workshops focused on wellness for employees. Invite nutritionists, trainers, and mental health experts to discuss the difficulties that employees face and provide tips and guidance for workers who may be struggling to stay fit and healthy. Offer fitness classes accessible to employees of all abilities, and host virtual cooking classes featuring tasty and nutritious meal ideas.
Before anyone had heard of COVID-19, companies used “gamification” as an effective strategy for boosting participation in wellness programs, encouraging healthy habits, and reducing illness among employees. Wellness challenges work because most people like competition, winning, and prizes.
Companies can establish and promote a range of wellness and fitness challenges, with workers reporting their achievement and earning rewards for participating or winning a given competition. Wellness challenges can include:
- Walking/steps challenges
- Nutrition and diet challenges
- Mindfulness and mental health challenges
- Healthy habit challenges
- Sleep challenges
Include Mental Health In Wellness Initiatives For Employees
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our collective mental health is undeniable. Depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health issues are on the rise as we all try to cope with the fear, isolation, and uncertainty that continues to cloud our lives. Remote employees need to recognize, understand, and acknowledge common psychological and emotional problems. Those working from home also need access to resources that can help them deal with these feelings productively and healthily.
Emphasize the importance of mental health in employee communications. Create a supportive and non-judgmental environment that encourages employees to reach out for help without worrying about how it may look or whether it will have a negative impact on their career. Provide your remote workforce with ways of obtaining the assistance they need, and promote discussion and support groups that can connect remote employees who may feel lonely and isolated from their colleagues.
Resources For Establishing Wellness Initiatives For Employees Working From Home
The U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has a useful and comprehensive workplace health wellness resource center that employers and employees alike can access to help them reduce risks, improve quality of life, and promote wellness for remote workers. Companies who invest in wellness initiatives for employees will reap the benefits of lower health care costs, fewer sick days, and a more productive workforce.
Anderson Insurance Services: Helping Arizona Companies And Employees Stay Healthy For Over 30 Years
If you are considering obtaining group health insurance coverage for your employees, you should also consider discussing your options with Anderson Insurance Services, an experienced Arizona small business and individual health insurance broker. We have over 30 years of experience servicing the health insurance needs of Arizona businesses. We are committed to answering your questions, addressing your concerns, and providing solutions that can keep you and your workforce safe and healthy during these challenging times.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation about your small business or individual health insurance needs.