As Work From Home (WFH) becoming a new norm post COVID-19 pandemic, we can now see the impact it has had on workplace well-being. While working from home gives flexibility to employees, it has also created root level issues for work-life balance, mental health, poor fitness – to name a few. Here are some ways in which companies can accommodate this new change and adapt employee well-being measures that can help employees ease their stress and live healthier lives.
Online initiatives on a rise
During academic times, extracurricular activities were something that everyone used to look forward to, right? The reason is simple – it purposefully indulges the mind and body to do some fun activities and gives joy. The same thing can be applied in corporate life and will be a trend this year. Companies will organize more such fun activities online in case it’s not possible to gather due to covid-19 restrictions.
A weekly schedule for engaging employees in fitness activities such as Zumba or strength training for 30-45 minutes would be a popular choice. In addition, monthly consultation calls with dietitians or nutritionists to help employees increase immunity, eat healthily, and feel fresh would be a new perk.
These activities don’t have to be limited to fitness and diet. Companies can set up a fun activity once a month such as stand-up comics, online board games, or even online get-togethers. This helps employees have an enjoyable joyous time, feel connected to each other, feel heard, and as they say, happiness is the key to good health and productivity!
Increased emphasis on financial wellness
A majority of people have faced financial distress during the pandemic for one reason or another and are trying to recover from it. After the pandemic, India’s middle-class population has reduced by 32 million. This shows the severeness of the situation. In such worst conditions, companies rolling out financial programs to help employees will be a welcoming trend this year.
This trend will lead to more investment in financial aids, family health insurance, healthcare aids in the form of teleconsultation, COVID-19 leaves without pay cuts, and simple things like financial assistance for education. Office ergonomics policies will take a front seat in 2022 by helping employees build their own WFH offices via reimbursing schemes for devices, office furniture, etc. There is no doubt that small steps can lead to big changes and uplift employee morale and well-being.
Awareness on women’s wellness
Increasing awareness on women’s wellness will be another key trend. While WFH is not easy for male employees, for women employees in India, it is even tougher. Their plates have become full with office and home responsibilities which were in existence earlier as well, but with their constant availability at home, it can be a challenge for them to maintain a balance.
Investing in primary and primitive care for female employees i.e., annual checkups to detect breast cancer, iron deficiency, and providing healthcare support for the same will be a welcome change. While many companies have taken steps for gender diversity, we can expect them to build the bridge of requirements and implementations. This can be done by conducting sessions with female employees on what has to be done to reduce the burden from their shoulders. Even the taboo on menstruation can be removed by normalizing menstruation leaves when needed.
Virtual mental health programs
There is no doubt that what you feel inside is as crucial as physical fitness. The pandemic has really tested employees for mental wellbeing. Human emotions such as anxiety, fear, stress, workload, loneliness, etc. have weighed them down and led to depression for many. And sometimes, these mental issues reflect on physical fitness as well – increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, eating disorders, and more.
Even the government has launched a national tele-mental health program to offer counseling sessions without any cost 24×7. This will lead to a new trend in 2022 with more companies offering virtual therapy sessions to employees for managing their emotions and stress level. We will see an increase in companies collaborating with other companies or start-ups in the mental wellness space that provide mental health support online and anonymously or hire a full-time therapist to provide one-to-one sessions to employees in need.
Cool down activities for work-life balance
WFH is the talk of the town and provides flexibility to employees. Though more often, this flexibility turns into working hours getting stretched and being all over the place leading to disrupted sleeping schedules and poor health with no time for self. This also reflects in family life with agitated behavior. Balancing work, life and flexibility would be a trend this year.
While not all things can be changed, we can see a trend this year with end of the day cooling time being a new thing. A 5-10 minutes Yoga session or mindful breathing session live or on-demand will be something that will help employees transition from work mode to family mode and improve their overall mood.
The bottom line
Health and wellness are the first assets that humans have and nothing can function if one has that in deficit. On average we spend 2117 hours annually working in India, and thus it is important to make that aspect of life smoother or at least do-able. Employee wellness plays a vital role here.
Gone are the days when companies would try to attract and retain talent using fancy perks such as cool gadget kits, vibrant offices, gaming rooms, free snacks, and more. Employee wellness has expanded beyond its definition and has become a vital measure for company growth. The time has changed and real care is the need of the hour.
by Mayank Kale, CEO & Co-Founder of Loop
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly)