Payroll, Here Are Your Articles for Wednesday, September 15, 2021
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How To Support Employees in Wellness


Tom Brady won the Super Bowl — again. What are you going to do? If seeing Brady make an end zone run at the age of 43 guilted you into renewing your gym membership, you know that motivation to better oneself can come from many places. Maybe we can do a bit of motivation as employers.

On the heels of one of the most difficult years in a generation, setting and keeping wellness goals might be tougher than ever without the right kind of support. We're still dealing with extended lockdowns, working from home, layoffs, business closures and the stress of a pandemic.

You have been helping your workers deal with:

  • The anxiety of constantly calculating the pandemic-related risk of everyday activities and determining the appropriate safety measures.
  • Balancing professional responsibilities with child care or caring for aging family members.
  • The shift to working from home, which eliminated workers' usual routines for managing stress, socializing and staying on task.
  • The fact that many are handling this rise in stress by increasing their use of alcohol, tobacco or other substances, all of which come with side effects.

Prioritize employee wellness by letting employees know that taking care of themselves is a top priority — that you value them as people, not just employees. Healthy employees not only feel happier but also perform better and are more productive, leading to reduced turnover and absenteeism while lowering your health care costs.

Here are some ways to support your workers' wellness:

  • Help with goal setting. Encourage workers to think about how to come up with meaningful goals for wellness and set measurable benchmarks so they can check in on their progress over time. Seeing gradual progress can be strong motivation to stay on track.
  • Make wellness perks accessible for in-office staff and for a work-at-home population.
    • A stipend for home fitness equipment and free access to virtual fitness classes or meditation apps could encourage time for self-care.
    • Home office and ergonomic workspace products help employees stay well, work well and achieve a better work-life balance.
  • Offer incentives. Gamify goals to create a healthy competition among staff and ensure that employees get peer recognition for achieving milestones. You can do this by offering financial rewards: Add extra dollars to employees' health spending accounts if they log 150 minutes of exercise each week or get a minimum of seven hours of sleep 20 nights each month. Encourage employees to set aside post-tax funds for exercise equipment, mental health services or nutrition counseling.
  • Include mental health support. Over 40% of employees say they felt burned out or emotionally drained from work as the impact of the quarantine and the daily onslaught of COVID-19 news added to their anxiety.
    • Communicate counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
      • Include details about the number of free sessions, virtual access options and how much it might cost to continue services.
      • Create peer-to-peer sessions for support among workers.
    • Consider partnering with an online therapy provider. By making services available and promoting them, you can destigmatize mental health issues and encourage employees to get the care they need.

You can be an agent of empowerment, countering pandemic-induced feelings of burnout, sadness, isolation and physical exhaustion, knowing that workers miss spontaneous in-person connections. You can be a proponent for the emotional, mental and physical well-being of your workforce. Establishing a culture of trust and engagement with employees paves the way for a healthy, productive future of work.

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