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5 Best Strategies for Boosting Employee Wellness at Work

POSTED ON 
October 4, 2022

In this post-pandemic world, supporting employee wellness is more important than ever. There is no shortage of data on how burned out employees are, and there’s also plenty of evidence that shows employers can make a difference.

In fact, 84% of employers have reported higher employee productivity and performance thanks to employee wellness plans

Yet, many companies still aren’t investing in employee wellness, to their peril.

According to Gallup, voluntary turnover costs U.S. businesses a trillion dollars every year. If encouraging healthy workplace habits and behaviors can save your company money and benefit employees, it’s a no-brainer to ensure you’re championing employee wellness and well-being.  

WHAT IS EMPLOYEE WELLNESS? 

Employee wellness refers to the programs, initiatives and incentives employers offer employees to promote their health. While these programs have been around a long time, there is a renewed focus on supporting employee health and well-being at work, especially supporting their mental health. 

Lasting employee wellness happens when companies listen and demonstrate care for their people, grounded in their day-to-day realities.

For example, if teams are understaffed, which prevents employees from taking vacations, sending healthy snacks in the mail won’t move the needle on employee wellness. It’s not enough to plaster signs about mental health around the office. The company culture, structure and habits must empower employees to live full and healthy lives. 

@linkList;Read on for five proven strategies for boosting employee wellness in your workplace:;1. Conduct an employee well-being survey;2. Implement company-wide time off opportunities;3. Host regular volunteer opportunities;4. Allow more flexibility;5. Promote mindfulness and mental health

1. Conduct an employee well-being survey 

Before rolling out a host of initiatives that don’t resonate with your people, conduct a survey to hear what’s impacting their wellness at work.

While survey fatigue is "real" (just not in the way leaders often think), employees always appreciate getting to share their feedback and perspectives if companies act on that information and share survey results. The best way to promote well-being within your culture is to talk to your people.  

Designing surveys that encourage useful responses is both art and science. If you need help crafting actionable survey questions, our Research Team is here to help. 

Read our blog: Designing employee surveys for actionable data

2. Implement company-wide time off opportunities 

From flex hours to summer Fridays, many companies have found that creating formalized programs designed to help employees unplug can make a real difference.

After all, employees can disconnect more freely when they recognize that it’s planned, encouraged and supported by the company. When your workforce recognizes that you’re willing to allow them time off, they are happier and healthier.   

Not convinced? Companies like Nike even offer their head office employees a week off in August to rest, recharge and destress. Nike knows that burned-out employees are not productive employees. 

Screenshot of Nike's Summer Fridays announcement.

3. Host regular volunteer opportunities 

Volunteering and giving back are good for the soul. Volunteering has been shown to provide people with a sense of purpose and community while also lowering stress and increasing feelings of happiness and satisfaction.

A staggering 97% of corporate volunteer managers report that service helps build teamwork internally.

Encourage employees to spend time in their communities giving back and partner with HR and internal communication departments to plan and host volunteer opportunities.

Corporate volunteer programs can increase employee engagement and retention by engaging your employees in supporting meaningful causes that are important to your organization.    

Read our blog: 5 Steps to Help Employees Find Joy in Volunteering

4. Allow more flexibility 

Adults thrive on being in control of their lives and schedules. Wherever possible, encourage flexible working hours and models. Do your people really need to be in the office five days each week? If not, don’t force it.

Focus on hiring people you trust so that flexible work models aren’t so intimidating. The world of work has shifted and more employees are willing to take a pay cut if it means more remote work, especially when you consider the time, money and hassle of commuting.

40% of workers surveyed by Owl Labs would take a pay cut of up to 10% to be able to work remotely at least part of the time in the future.

If your business model doesn’t allow for remote work (like manufacturing or distribution), strategize ways to allow employees to swap schedules and gain more control and flexibility. 

5. Promote mindfulness and mental health 

Apps like Calm and Headspace partner with thousands of organizations of all shapes and sizes to encourage happier people and healthier businesses.

As you plan your next fiscal year, consider including apps, tools and resources that help your employees manage life’s everyday stressors. If you're looking for some inspiration or a starting point, check out our list of mental health tools, resources and podcasts.

Employee wellness is non-negotiable these days

The strategies and tips above are all options that make it clear to your people that you value their health. While no single strategy will work for all employees, make a conscious effort to revisit your wellness offerings and survey your people at least once a year to learn what they need. 

The net-net: To stay competitive and create a workplace where your people and bottom line both thrive, focus on taking care of your people first. Your business’s success depends on it. 
Read our blog: How to Actually Support Your Employees’ Mental Health

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