The COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably transformed the way people live and work. One of the most apparent ways that we can observe these is the wider adoption of flexible work arrangements among organizations in the United States. Due to government restrictions and shared concerns about health and safety, many workers now prefer to maintain this kind of setup going forward.
As your organization navigates its new normal of hybrid work, the importance of good health should be emphasized in your corporate programs and overall company culture. Your concepts of productivity and work-life balance should take employee wellbeing into account.
With your organization adjusting flexible work, these are some vital points to reflect on to restructure the workplace in such a way that it prioritizes employee health and safety.
Six Ways to Promote Employee Health in the Workplace
These are big and small adjustments your workplace needs to make health a priority for all team members.
1. Adjust your health benefits to post-COVID-19 concerns.
The pandemic has necessitated a second look at the current provisions of your organization’s health benefits. You will have to expand your program to address the issues that the pandemic has brought to light.
One way to expand your health benefits is to widen its scope to telehealth consultations. The safety and convenience offered by virtual checkups will make it a preferred option even after the pandemic.
Additionally, it helps your employees to have benefits that include mental health services. You can introduce additional services that allow them to seek assistance, such as therapy.
Your whole team can also benefit from adopting a broader view of wellness altogether. Holistic health centers offer services that can support employees towards better lifestyles.
2. Redesign your physical offices.
You cannot overlook how the physical layout of your workplace could contribute to poor health. Some interior adjustments make big differences in making your office more conducive to productivity.
First invest in ergonomic office chairs to promote good posture as employees spend a majority of their time in the workplace sitting down. You can also have some standing desks to give employees more options while working. These help avoid common issues of neck, shoulder, and back pain among office workers.
Small upgrades, such as introducing more natural light and keeping more plants indoors, also help promote better health and energy throughout the work day.
3. Provide healthier food choices in the workplace.
Your office cafeteria should have healthier options. Have more meals that have fruits, vegetables, and grains to encourage a healthy diet for everyone. You can also opt to have vending machines that have low fat, low carb, and low sugar products that employees can choose from.
You should also have newsletters that educate employees on healthy meal plans. These can also include recipes shared by employees to encourage both onsite and remote teams to eat better.
4. Set office challenges with incentives.
Office challenges build a sense of community and help employees embrace healthier practices. Introducing incentives and prizes are also big motivators for employees to come and participate.
You can begin challenges with simple habits, such as drinking at least four glasses of water daily. When everyone has gotten into the rhythm of these challenges, introduce fitness exercises, such as doing 30-minute workouts three times a week or walking 3,000 steps a day. Take suggestions from your team and take votes, too, to emphasize their participation and sustain interest.
5. Do mental health checks with the team.
Since the pandemic has shown that mental health problems are more common than usually acknowledged, as a leader, you must make adjustments to promote good mental health aside from physical fitness.
Make sure that everyone is educated on proper mental care and knowing how to identify symptoms. As a leader, be vocal about the freedom employees have to reach out should they need mental health breaks.
However, the reality is that opening up concerns to one’s boss is not the most comfortable experience. Have equipped professionals in your HR team that can reach out to employees or that they can approach for concerns about workloads or their capacity to work.
6. Stay true to your flexible work setup.
There are times when flexible work setups are not actually flexible. Employees are given work that extends beyond the day’s work hours, which give them little room to rest. A truly flexible work setup has clear work hours that everyone adheres to.
As your organization restructures after the COVID-19 pandemic, be mindful of how onsite and remote employees are affected by policies and practices to build a workplace that makes physical and mental health a priority.