By Elissa Hermanson and Alexandra Grant
Elissa and Alexandra are both Certified Personal Trainers with a variety experience in both the corporate and fitness space. From leading Lunch & Learns on health topics to group exercise training, both share a love of physical activity and encouraging others to find ways to stay active and healthy, no matter the method. Throughout the pandemic, the two have successfully implemented wellbeing initiatives at Proxima, and lead a larger community focused on health and wellness within the firm.
With the pandemic-lockdowns and stay at home orders across the UK and US, it is more important than ever for companies to empower employees to take care of their health and wellness, both mental and physical. Providing companies with easily implemented resources will encourage employee wellbeing in an increasingly abnormal world.
It is crucial that executives consider corporate health to create a healthy workforce and increase employee retention through the pandemic and recovery. Below, we outline four tips to create optimal corporate health, encourage a healthy workforce and employee retention.
Implement an employee wellness program
The global corporate wellness market is expected to be valued at $66.2 billion by 2027. As this market continues to grow, it has had increasing value for employees, as they enrolled in wellness programs have reported higher job satisfaction and fewer sick days because of wellness programs.
Employee wellness programs do not hurt a company’s bottom line. In fact, they can actually provide long-term cost savings as these programs increase an employee’s productivity, directly impacting a company’s ROI. Studies have shown that companies that offer an employee wellness program can actually increase employee retention.
Effective programs that our team encourages include:
- physical activity throughout the day
- introducing fitness-based challenges
- preparing a weekly group workout
- funding wellness purchases
- establishing nutrition and health seminars
Focus on collaboration and connection for remote and hybrid settings
Now more than ever, companies are looking for ways to bring their employees together in hybrid settings to create a sense of collaboration and connection. The nature of work has drastically changed and leaders will explore shifts in strategy towards people, teams and facilities given the dominant view in both the U.S. (47%) and UK (58%) is that ‘some form of remote working’ will be introduced permanently from our 2021 Finance Leaders Outlook.
Companies can play a role in helping employees reduce anxiety and stress and improve focus and motivation through seminars or workshops that address depression and stress management techniques. As employees navigate Zoom fatigue and continued isolation, companies can employ more creative solutions to increase collaboration and connection including new virtual meetups after work including baking sessions, cocktail making, informational lectures on topics of interest, and book clubs.
Take a top-down approach to support physical well-being
Starting with physical activity throughout the day, Proxima encourages all colleagues to get up and move throughout the day. Whether that be taking a lunchtime walk, taking the dog for a morning stroll, or even taking a walk around the house during a meeting, it has proven effective with employees when they see the example being set at the executive level.
Employees may not feel comfortable taking time away from their desks and a top-down approach can help alleviate those feelings. When implemented this way, this truly is a no-cost approach to wellbeing, and often increases employee productivity and reduces the risk of burnout.
Companies can explore supporting wellness purchases, whether that be a monthly stipend for a gym membership, workout classes, or subscriptions to online fitness platforms to encourage their employees make physical health a priority. Also, team sessions geared towards physical well-being can add morale and connection among co-workers. These have the added benefit of providing physical fitness to your employees, which has been shown to stimulate the brain, and increase productivity.
Build employee’s mental wellness through meaningful conversations
Many companies have implemented programs focused on their employee’s mental wellness in the past, with the pandemic and stay at home lockdowns currently in place, companies now need to create new ways to show their support, provide the appropriate resources and bring their employees together.
It is incredibly important to create a sense of collaboration and connection during remote working. For instance, Proxima, along with many other companies, pivoted to new virtual meetings like zoom happy hours – but that seems to have slowed down, as some employees have entered the Zoom fatigue stage. Employees have become more creative and designed new virtual meetups after work including baking sessions, cocktail making, informational lectures on topics of interest, and book clubs for example.
To support employee mental wellness, companies could also host seminars or workshops that address depression and stress management techniques, like mindfulness, breathing exercises, and meditation, to help employees reduce anxiety and stress and improve focus and motivation. By engaging in mental wellness activities, employees can translate these learning to how to manage and address stress from their personal and professional life. The consequences of mental health issues that are not addressed can cause absenteeism, increase in errors, burnout, loss of motivation, poor decision making, physical health issues, and tension between colleagues.
Overall, the pandemic has had an immense effect on how employers view employee health and wellness. This event has encouraged many companies to implement new flexible working policies and creative solutions designed to create a healthier working environment for their staff. We hope that through this paper, we have identified additional opportunities employers can take to encourage both physical and mental wellness throughout their organizations.