Workplace wellbeing has been a soft topic in recent years. Eager to keep employees working at their highest productivity and retain talent, some companies had even devoted resources to researching the concept. Now, with the onset of the pandemic, workplace wellbeing has skyrocketed to being many employers’ top concern. The increase of anxiety and continual stress among the general population has the potential to hurt employee performance and engagement.
There are three main components to wellbeing: physical, mental, and social. Addressing these three different areas can create a positive environment for your employees, allowing them to create their best work.
Physical wellbeing includes areas such as fitness, nourishment, environment, and comfort. To encourage frequent exercise and healthy eating choices, several businesses have set up health initiatives, many of which can be integrated into work-from-home setups. Environment and comfort refer to an employee’s direct surroundings. For example, are employees comfortable at their desks, or do they require a more ergonomic setup? These matters are more challenging to address with so many employees still actively working from home, but there are solutions available. For example, our sister company TempWorks SoftwareTM offered each of its employees a one-time stipend to help cover any expenses necessary for setting up a home office. This is a simple but effective way to ensure your employees remain comfortable during the pandemic.
Mental wellbeing considers both the emotional and cognitive state of an employee. Emotional wellbeing can depend on where the employee works and the design of their home office. One easy way to enhance mental wellbeing is to include nature (such as plants or natural light) in the office space (this concept is also known as biophilic design). This can help with stress reduction, cognitive function, and overall productivity. The cognitive state of an employee is dependent on the work they do. Is the work engaging, does the employee feel they are being challenged and set up to succeed? If an employee is beginning to feel detached or bored with their work, one-to-one meetings with managers can help address these issues.
Social connectivity is possibly the most difficult aspect of wellbeing to address during the pandemic. Stay-at-home orders and continued venue closures keep people from social behaviors they took for granted before the onset of COVID-19. To help make up for the current lack of friend gatherings, it’s important to make sure your teams are staying in contact. Though Zoom fatigue is a real issue, online meetings are important for sharing facetime with colleagues. Scheduling at least one meeting a week with your team can help encourage employees to connect and enjoy social interaction.
Although the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for managers to check in on the wellness of their employees, most senior leaders have demonstrated genuine interest in their employees’ wellbeing, and 76% of companies say organizational collaboration has improved since the pandemic. This is great news amidst a global crisis, but employee anxiety and stress levels are still on the rise. If this trend continues, businesses may experience an eventual reduction in productivity and collaboration. It’s important for team leaders to seriously consider workplace wellbeing if they want their teams to continue operating at peak performance.