From employee productivity to bottom-line financials, COVID-19 impacts the way we live and work. As we continue to evolve workplace models and business strategies, our efforts should focus on stabilizing the lingering physical, psychological, and financial impacts of the pandemic.
Providing trusted healthcare resources for your employees is more important than ever. Emphasizing your support for their well-being can lead to positive trends in productivity, decrease absenteeism, and help control healthcare costs.
Strengthen your commitment to employee well-being
Well-being includes an employee’s mental, physical, and social well-being. Take steps now to ensure your current wellness strategy addresses both physical and mental health concerns.
Ways to support employees’ physical health
- Encourage flu shots: The CDC estimates a loss of 17 million workdays due to flu, costing $7 billion yearly in sick days and lost productivity. You should recommend your workforce receive a flu shot each fall. Shots are readily accessible at low or no cost through retail pharmacies, large retailers (like Costco or Target), and doctor offices.
- Maintain good health habits: Measures taken to tame COVID-19 drastically reduce outbreaks of the common cold, flu, and other respiratory illnesses. You should remind your workforce about the benefits of wearing masks, handwashing, and using hand sanitizer.
- Promote COVID-19 vaccinations: One key message to share and reinforce is the importance of vaccinations and boosters based on CDC guidance. Vaccines are easy to find and readily available at no cost through local pharmacies, vaccination events, pop-up clinics, and retail health outlets.
- Support virtual care options: Telehealth is a convenient alternative to in-office doctor visits, especially during busy workdays and vacations. Employees can schedule online appointments using a mobile device, so they can feel covered and protected no matter where they are.
- Endorse well-being programs and yearly physicals: Even if your office is still operating virtually, you can host an at-home walk-at-lunch day, online health seminar, send informative health articles, or distribute information about the importance of a yearly physical.
Prioritize mental health awareness
Mental health is a significant part of overall employee well-being and has become an increasingly important focus. From August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with symptoms of anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%.
Workers want their employers to support mental health concerns. According to the National Business Group on Health, 27% of surveyed employees are seeking help with post-pandemic burnout.
How to encourage positive mental health initiatives
- Promote your Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): EAP programs offer resources such as counseling, financial services, dependent care, or other confidential support — often at no cost. If you’d like to add an EAP product, now may be a good time.
- Talk openly about mental health: It’s more than a well-being concern; it’s a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issue. Employees want an open and accepting culture, increased support, and clearer information about how to access mental health resources.
- Encourage work/life balance: When you support workday breaks, regularly review workloads, and offer time off for self-care or volunteer opportunities, you send a work/life balance message that resonates. It’s just as important that you lead by example to show your workforce how important it is.
- Move to a hybrid workplace: Employees want flexibility. A FlexJobs survey determined 58% of workers would look for a new job if they couldn’t work remotely. A hybrid workplace model offers the ability to collaborate and connect face-to-face, but also the flexibility to work from home.
- Offer financial wellness services: According to a Money and Mental Health Policy Institute survey of nearly 5,500 people, 86% with mental health concerns said their financial situation worsened their mental health problems. Financial education can help improve overall wellness. This includes assistance in understanding health, life, and disability benefits.
Renewing your commitment to your company’s well-being can contribute to a healthier bottom line and healthier employees. Give your workforce confidence in care and a greater sense of trust by offering whole-person support.