Workplace Wellness After COVID-19

Your employees’ physical and mental health will remain important post-pandemic. Here are 4 steps your company can take to commit to workplace wellness.

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Telemedicine, wellness challenges, health screenings, recipe contests, and nutrition newsletters are just a few things you can add to your wellness program

With offices closed and social distancing still in effect, COVID-19 has changed the way companies across the world function. It isn’t just the way we work that has been impacted by the change. Business owners and HR specialists alike are wondering which benefits will matter in a post-COVID-19 world, with workplace-based health and wellness programs at the forefront of change.

Before the pandemic, it was no surprise that wellness programs were a valuable addition to company life. According to statistics published by ITA Group, effective workplace wellness programs can cause an average reduction of 26% in health costs and 28% in sick days. Enterprise companies aren’t the only ones that benefit — small businesses can make wellness programs work for them, too.

But now things have changed. With more and more employees worried about COVID-19 and working from home, employers have focused on helping them cope with stress and promoting mental well-being. Many of these new approaches to physical and mental health are likely to become the norm post-pandemic.

Business owners and HR specialists alike are wondering which benefits will matter in a post-COVID-19 world, with workplace-based health and wellness programs at the forefront of change.

Shift to offsite and online options

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A gym membership may not be enough anymore. Instead of focusing on a specific gym or having onsite offerings, it may be more cost-effective and preferred to offer reimbursements based on your employees’ fitness program choices.

Rather than work out onsite, your employees may prefer on-demand webinars, yoga sessions, or other forms of remote instruction.

Physical health shouldn’t be your only consideration. For workers that remain remote, loneliness is a major health hazard. Research from Perspectives on Psychological Science found that isolation can increase mortality by 26%. In addition to providing telemedicine for mental health, you can consider creating a Slack channel where employees can discuss their fitness goals and routine.

Create wellness challenges

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When it comes to health and employee satisfaction, feeling a part of a community is crucial.
When it comes to health and employee satisfaction, feeling a part of a community is crucial. Wellness Challenges are a great way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. The best part is that these challenges are versatile and can be tailor-made to match your employees’ goals. You may even decide to have a vote for each challenge or ask employees to submit ideas.

Some common goals for a wellness challenge are:

  • Drinking more water
  • Walking challenges
  • Weight loss
  • Eating more fruits or vegetables

To encourage participation, you can highlight those who win or join up in the newsletter. Even if you decide not to host challenges in the office, you can give credit to those employees who participate outside in marathons and other fitness competitions.

Host office health screenings

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Perhaps one of the biggest changes will be office health screenings. A national survey in 2018 found that 45% of young adults under the age of 30 did not have a primary care physician. But after COVD-19, it’s likely that preventative in-office health screenings will become the norm.

While it doesn’t have to be as extensive as taking employee temperature at the door, hosting seasonal flu shots and biometric screenings may be a cost-effective way to provide health benefits. Employees will not only feel more looked after, but companies may avoid illness-related losses in productivity and revenue.

Focus on nutrition

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In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, they found that 75% of healthcare spending goes to treating chronic diseases, most of which can be solved or improved through a change in diet. Offering nutrition programs or education is one of the simplest ways to target employee health and well-being post-COVID.

Not only can you host seminars or webinars about better nutrition, or even create wellness challenges around it, nutrition can be addressed both inside and outside of the office. There are many ways to incorporate nutrition into your wellness program:

  • Meatless Mondays
  • Healthy recipe or cooking contests
  • Providing healthier snacks or lunches in the office
  • Offering access to nutrition webinars
  • Creating a weekly or monthly nutrition email newsletter
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