Christmas is in the air. The holidays are inciting excitement, and the world is getting ready to embrace a new beginning cheerfully. If that sounds a bit off to you, you are not wrong.
There is nothing usual or Christmassy about 2020, and most people are probably not going through the exhilarating experience of New Year’s eve planning. They would rather opt for a staycation or sacrifice their PTO (personal time-off) altogether instead of planning for getaways and grand celebrations and parties.
Since it is becoming clear that a vaccine will not be available to the majority for this year, it is apparent that struggle with isolation, depression, and anxiety will continue. People have to go to work (or join their virtual offices) despite feeling broken, hopeless, and demotivated.
Regardless of how frightened they are, employees have their obligations, reports to write, and tasks to complete. Statistics shows that fear among workers is real, with 90 percent of them reporting some anxiety and 55 percent struggling with severe tension.
Yet, for 79 percent of employees, organizations with a strong culture of health and well-being present a helpful way to alleviate pain and reduce stress. Hence, building high-quality well-being programs is of paramount importance for workplaces.
STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING HIGH-QUALITY WELL-BEING PROGRAMS TO HELP YOUR EMPLOYEES DEAL WITH COVID-19-RELATED ANXIETY
A cry for help across the underfunded mental health sector is frustrating: the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted its services in 93 percent of countries. Yet, the demand for psychological aid is increasing and, according to The World Economic Forum, the global costs of mental health issues will total over six trillion USD by 2030.
More than ever, companies have to step up and improve their wellness and well-being programs or develop them efficiently from scratch. Here are five tips on how to build them.
1. HAVE THE SUPPORT OF EXECUTIVES
When starting with an essential strategy such as a mental health strategy, you have to start from the top and ensure that you have buy-in from those with the most power. Whether you are adjusting or implementing a wellness and well-being program, you will need all the support you can get from the leadership and executives.
Identify the significance and goals of the program, focusing on addressing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on employees’ health. Leaders should comprehend how their employees’ mental health issues are affecting the workplace and their staff’s lives as a whole.
For the programs to be effective, thorough, and authentic, they need to work across all levels, and CEOs have to understand them. Perhaps employees will want to approach the management or expect palpable support from them. Thus, nurturing an all-encompassing approach and communication will make sure that the program is stable, genuine, and able to engage employees to it.
2. ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES’ INSIGHTS
Well-being programs inherently require ideas and insights from the employees themselves. Hence, don’t be afraid to show that you don’t have all the answers and ask them where to start to provide them with the best solution.
Create a comprehensive survey and share it with the staff to discover what their fears, problems, and concerns are. Uncover how best to help them by asking them what they think would be helpful. Collate and study your surveys results to ensure that you are addressing the right issues and offering the best aid.
It is crucial to share the survey through channels that employees use and take seriously. Thus, craft a questionnaire that demonstrates your genuine care and encourages ideas, solutions, and suggestions. The promotional campaign of the well-being program should contain internal newsletters, videos, and presentations that highlight the benefits, webinars, and flyers.
3. TAILOR YOUR WELL-BEING PROGRAM TO THE EMPLOYEES’ FEEDBACK AND ADDRESS COVID-19 AFTERMATHS
The insights you collect from the staff should make the program development easier. Ensure that its pillars are compatible with employees’ feedback and that you are not leaving anything out. For instance, if you discover that your workers are feeling isolated, tweak the social element, and foster a sense of belonging, open communication, and connection.
Find ways to make the employees feel less alone in this brave new world and connect them with relevant professionals, coworkers bearing the same struggles, and offer your support. Thus, tweak the company’s communication channels to improve their efficiency and make sure that every employee can reach out when needing help.
Conduct additional analysis to identify frequent COVID-19-related issues so that you don’t miss anything when developing or improving your well-being program. Recent research pinpoints concerns regarding personal or health of the family and friends, financial worries, fears of losing the job, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns as the consequences of the pandemic.
The mental health programs should consider these concerns and integrate them into the initiatives. Seek ways to address the seven components of employee wellness, such as cognitive, social, emotional, and physical nourishment well-being.
4. IMPLEMENT LONG-TERM WELLNESS INITIATIVES
Although you might be starting the well-being program as a response to the coronavirus crisis, avoid making them a one-time-thing. Instead, turn it into a stable and long-term initiative that will become a traditional element of the workplace mental health and overall wellness strategy.
Make the program compatible with existing issues, remote work, and future wellness concerns that might arise. Ensure that the initiatives reflect your vision by introducing well-thought actions.
Here are examples of initiatives that have been adopted by some organizations:
- Workplace preventive health screening
- Continuous telehealth support
- Team or one-on-one coaching sessions
- Provide professional counseling or therapy
- Introduce free gym membership, mental health, and wellness apps
5. TRACK THE IMPACT
If your program is not making any difference, it is likely that you are missing something. Hence, although it’s a challenging task, identify ways to track the progress and impact of the well-being program.
Leverage modern technology to receive feedback and to make sure that you are reaching everyone who needs support. Introduce employee surveys, reports, and engaging tracking tools to gather workers’ insights and ensure effectiveness.
Don’t allow the promotion campaign to lose intensity with time. Encourage your employees to participate in the program by showing them that opening up, being vulnerable, and speaking about mental health issues is not a sign of weakness. That way, you won’t only increase the odds of the well-being program’s success, but you’ll also bolster employees’ resilience and instill trust.
AN EMERGING TREND AND NECESSITY
Wellness and mental well-being programs have resurfaced as a highlight trend of 2020, and will continue to do so in the years to come. This is a reminder that employees are more than just laborers who get things done. Employees are human beings who suffer, have families, and strive to do their best work while struggling with the pandemic.
COVID-19 is not only a tragedy, but also a wake-up call for people to have patience, understanding, and empathy for each other. That is the element that’s turning a trend into a necessity.
In 2021, we could see well-being programs expanding and including managers and executives too. Top-level management is going through the pain of this tumultuous year, which is why it is necessary to involve them too in wellness procedures. By doing so, these programs will be inclusive, all-encompassing and sustainable.
One thing to help you manage this process is by utilizing a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that features an Occupational Safety and Health module (OSH). Click here to find out more about Everything at Work HRIS.