Over the past couple of years, employee wellness programs have become a staple in offices all over the world as a way to keep staff healthy, productive, and engaged. However, they became even more necessary in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees have reported feeling more burnt out since the start of the pandemic than they have ever been before. As some companies are suggesting employees return to the office and others are allowing them to remain remote, it’s important that employers are tracking the health of their workforce and offering successful ways to improve it in 2021.
Employee Wellness Tip #1: Work-Life Balance
With the shift to remote work, there became a stronger intrusion of work-life boundaries. Those who have worked from home over the past year may have experienced the inability to disconnect from their responsibilities outside of work hours. It’s even possible that they are still bringing their work home with them after they have returned to the office, out of habit.
Without a distinct separation between work and personal life, employees can easily become overworked, burned out, and stressed more quickly than normal. Employers should not only express the importance of a healthy work-life balance but also demonstrate it as well. Each manager or supervisor has a responsibility to demonstrate the company’s commitment to wellness. Clearly valuing their own well-being can show their team that they value theirs too.
Making your team aware of the wellness precautions your company has set into place isn’t always enough, sometimes they need to be led by example and reminded that they can, in fact, take time for themselves. Valuing wellness can easily be expressed by encouraging the use of vacation days and paid time off (PTO), stepping out for short walks or a bite to eat, and blocking time off on your calendar for appointments or mental health breaks.
Employee Wellness Tip #2: Screen Time and Vision Health
In some cases, while employees were working from home, they may have been nervous about stepping away from their computers for too long, creating the illusion that they’re not performing their tasks as they should be. However, the fear of not being online at all times has led them to engage with screens for far too long.
Excessive interaction with digital screens can lead to employees feeling the effects of digital eye strain, which causes dry eyes, blurred vision, eye pain, and headaches. The extent of your team’s visual symptoms often depends on the level of their visual abilities and the amount of time they spend looking at a digital screen. Uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness, astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing, or eye coordination abilities, can all contribute to the development of visual problems when using a digital screen. Therefore, employers should encourage staff to take frequent breaks from their screens to allow their eyes to rest and rehydrate in between tasks. Employers might also suggest that employees update and order new prescription glasses annually if they have any pre-existing vision conditions due to focusing on screens for longer than 8 hours per day. Wearing glasses with the correct prescription can help employees resist some of the symptoms eye strain may cause, like blurred vision, eye pain, and headaches.
Employee Wellness Tip #3: Monitor Workloads and Delegate Tasks
Although “remote freedom” is designed to give employees more flexibility throughout their day, in certain cases, it has caused some of the workforce to feel the need to be overly present online. This can also carry over to their office life post working from home because it has been their new normal for the past year.
Companies should be monitoring employees’ productivity and hours to determine not only their success but also their workflow. Are they working more hours than they should? Are they taking their work home with them? Are they demonstrating symptoms of burnout and high stress? If so, it may be time to delegate some of their tasks to team members or even reassess workflow overall.
Tracking employees’ hours can accomplish this, but it can also benefit the company as a whole to have an open line of communication with management. Sharing an anonymous survey that can poll your team’s feelings about their day-to-day can give great insight into what they are thinking. Weekly check-ins can also give employees an outlet to discuss workflow more frequently than monthly performance reviews can.
Employee wellness is very important to the success of an organization. Taking the time to monitor their health will ultimately benefit your company and make your staff feel more engaged and motivated.