As we just surpassed a year living “pandemic life,” people and companies have had to adapt to this “new normal.” What does that look like?
- Most offices are closed so if you had access to an onsite gym, you’ve now had to change to home workouts or outdoor activities (not easy in cities with harsher winter weather).
- Water cooler talk has now been replaced with Zoom calls.
- Working in athleisurewear has become our new “business casual” attire.
- Our makeshift desk at home has now turned into where we spend most of our day.
- Distractions are at an all-time high with kids, roommates, and dogs calling our attention or creating noise in our new office space.
So how do each of these affect well-being?
- Overall exercise output has declined. According to a study in April, 27% of respondents stated they had been exercising less often than usual as a result of the crisis.*
- People are either feeling isolated and social skills are declining, or they are burnt out from being at the computer longer without breaks, and therefore losing motivation. Creativity is likely suffering as a result of less in-person, brainstorming time.
- At first, working in our pajamas or workout gear all day was comfortable and fun, but some are now finding it harder to motivate getting dressed and leaving the house.
- Neck, back, shoulder, and wrist pain are surfacing from not having the proper office setup, or knowing what that even looks like (think monitor at eye level, feet on the floor, taking regular breaks, etc.).
- Distractions are disrupting our productivity, creativity and making it too easy to work around the clock, which is also impacting people’s sleep cycles.
According to a recent study, since the pandemic:**
- Mental health and well-being have dropped 33%
- 42% of people are having more trouble sleeping
- 33% reported more alcohol or substance use
- 44% of business leaders say employee morale is declining due to the isolation
So, what can you do? Businesses are planning for the remainder of the year, whether that be partial office openings or giving up corporate spaces to continue remote working. There isn’t “one size fits all” for organizations since employee preferences vary which can be impacted by things like life stage, geography, housing conditions, and personality styles. Here are 3 things you can do now to help adapt for the future:
INVOLVE EMPLOYEES IN DECISION MAKING
How often is Management making decisions based on what they think is best? Ask yourself, have we had input from the staff? At the end of the day, Management still needs to do what is best, but retrieving information from as many people at the organization as possible, will allow you to make more informed decisions that are less assumption-based.
FORM A WELLNESS COMMITTEE
More companies are developing wellness committees (a group of people from different departments within the organization that represent the collective in determining what wellness activities to participate in). Empower your employees to present what resources they want and need, instead of deciding for them. Are you paying for an EAP that employees are utilizing? Are you funding a gym or staff nutritionist that only a small percentage of employees care to use? Putting resources in place based on the needs and wants of your specific staff shows them you are listening.
OVER-COMMUNICATE WHAT’S AVAILABLE TO THEM
Does your staff know what’s available to them? Or was it an initial communication given out at orientation or when benefits renewed that has been long forgotten? In order to get engagement up in your wellness programs, make sure there is routine communication around it, and better yet, build it into your culture. Perhaps there are resources someone’s entire family can be benefiting from, but they aren’t aware it’s accessible to them. Knowing what resources are out there will help people feel like their well-being is a priority to the company.
For more information on implementing a wellness program in your organization, contact firstname.lastname@example.org