12 Ways Employers Can Best Support Employee Well-being
To help employers create a supportive environment for their employees’ physical and mental well-being, we gathered insights from CEOs, founders, and wellness experts. From offering free wellness programs to providing wellness app subscriptions, here are 12 top strategies shared by these professionals to promote a healthy work environment.
- Offer a Free Meditation Series
- Respect Specified Work Hours
- Promote Work-Life Integration
- Subsidize Gym Memberships
- Implement Summer Fridays
- Include Mental Health Coverage
- Provide Financial Wellness Benefits
- Upgrade Employee Technology
- Add On-Site Wellness Options
- Foster Open Communication
- Implement Comprehensive Wellness Programs
- Recommend Wellness App Subscriptions
Offer a Free Meditation Series
One of the best ways employers can support the physical and mental well-being of their employees is to offer free wellness programs. These could include anything from exercise classes and discounted gym fees, to seminars on work/life balance topics and mental health counseling.
One example of this is a meditation series; meditating helps to reduce stress, improve concentration, and cultivate emotional intelligence—all important in daily workplace performance. Employers should provide accessible opportunities for productive self-care in order to create a culture where mind-body health is valued and supported.
Respect Specified Work Hours
As someone who has experienced the negative effects of burnout, I know firsthand the importance of adhering to specified working hours. When employers enforce clear boundaries around work hours, it not only ensures that employees have time to recharge and take care of their physical and mental health, but it also shows that the company values and prioritizes the well-being of its staff.
Working overtime or carrying work home can quickly lead to exhaustion and detachment from one’s personal life, ultimately affecting job satisfaction and productivity. By respecting employees’ time and encouraging work-life balance, employers can create a healthier and more productive work environment for everyone.
Promote Work-Life Integration
These days, it’s important for employers to consider the entire person for their employees. Because work-life balance no longer exists (because of the way technology runs our life and work nearly 24/7) promoting work-life integration is an excellent way to support the physical and mental well-being of employees.
Offering flexible work arrangements can keep people healthy, happy, and more productive than ever before.
Subsidize Gym Memberships
The research from health psychology is extremely clear: exercise is medicine. However, preferred exercise modalities are highly personal, and not everyone enjoys the same forms of exercise. Moreover, gym memberships can be prohibitively expensive, particularly if they include a swimming pool, group classes, personal training, or nutritional advice.
By offering subsidized gym memberships, along with associated services and products, you can remove these barriers to entry. You give staff the flexibility to choose which exercise modalities they engage in, maximizing the probability of adherence. This also allows staff to try out new modes of exercise, helping them to find the best type of exercise for them.
Although naturally, not every staff member will utilize this benefit, those that do are disproportionately likely to improve their physical and mental health and will thank the organization deeply for it.
Implement Summer Fridays
Summer Fridays promote well-being and work-life balance. That extra day off can do wonders for mental health and allows team members to come back to the office on Monday feeling refreshed and more productive.
They can also spend their Friday outside in the warm weather or go on a mini vacation and stay active. As a result, employees are happier and more satisfied within their roles.
Include Mental Health Coverage
Including both mental health and physical coverage as part of employees’ healthcare plan is an important step in ensuring that you and your employees have access to comprehensive healthcare services.
Start by reviewing your current healthcare plan to see the types of coverage that are already included. It may be necessary to upgrade the plan to include mental health coverage if the current plan is only a basic plan. Determine what types of mental health services would be most beneficial for you and your employees, such as counseling, therapy, or medication management.
Adding mental health coverage to employees’ plan may increase the cost of your healthcare plan, so review your budget to see what you can afford, and also consider the potential cost savings that could result from addressing mental health concerns proactively. Make sure your employees are aware of the benefits and how to access them by offering educational materials and sessions to help employees understand how to use their coverage.
Provide Financial Wellness Benefits
Provide benefits and programs for your employees that address the root problems that interfere with their well-being. Namely, financial stress. Employee financial stress is at an all-time high.
Many studies show that over 75% of employees are financially stressed. That stress bleeds over into every aspect of their work and personal lives—affecting their productivity and mental and physical health.
Offering financial wellness benefits is essential to help your employees better manage this stress. The right benefits will provide them with lifelong knowledge that can be a game-changer and even lift them out of debt. Consider bringing in a financial wellness benefit that helps hourly employees, women, and people of color, who are too often left out of traditional financial management offerings. This translates to happier, more productive, and loyal employees. With little effort on your part, you show that you care about your people and their well-being.
Upgrade Employee Technology
If your business is like mine, then your employees spend 99-100% of their working days on their company-issued laptops. When you think about it, these devices are basically the stand-in for the office building from fifty years ago.
You wouldn’t want your employees working in an office where the doors didn’t work or the A/C was sporadic. Despite that warning, I am shocked by the number of businesses willing to have employees continue to work on defective and old devices. Stay on top of the upgrades. It’s a low cost for a tremendous impact.
Add On-Site Wellness Options
Implement a wellness development program or have on-site wellness delivered to provide muscle tension and stress relief therapy for its employees once a month. Adding on-site wellness helps encourage workplace harmony, benefits employees’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being, reduces muscle tension from long periods of desk sitting or standing, and boosts morale.
This addition can also educate employees about where they hold their stress and gain tips and tools to implement self-care within their day. When employees feel appreciated and are treated as such, they are less stressed and more productive.
Foster Open Communication
One of the best ways employers can support the well-being of their employees is to foster open communication. Since every human is different, look at every person individually and figure out how to best help them in their situation. The only way to do this is to encourage them to talk with you if there is a problem.
Too many bosses take this for granted and think their people will always tell them issues right away. Employees, on the other hand, often think that the boss is signaling disinterest and are scared of taking the initiative themselves.
So a simple statement by the boss every now and then that open communication is desired and complaints won’t be ignored can benefit the well-being of employees tremendously.
Implement Comprehensive Wellness Programs
The well-being of employees is a critical factor that can affect the productivity, engagement, and satisfaction of a workforce. Employers that prioritize the physical and mental health of their employees can benefit from a more productive, loyal, and satisfied workforce. One of the best ways employers can support the physical and mental well-being of their employees is through implementing comprehensive wellness programs.
Wellness programs improve the health and well-being of employees by providing them with the resources and support they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. These programs typically include a range of services and activities, such as health assessments, preventive screenings, educational seminars, fitness classes, stress management techniques, and other activities that promote healthy behaviors and habits.
Recommend Wellness App Subscriptions
My top tip for fellow employers looking to support their workforce’s mental health is to consider offering a subscription to a wellness application.
Apps like Calm and Headspace use psychologist-approved techniques like meditation and cognitive adjustment to improve mental health through daily steps that anyone can do. Many people find this incremental approach less intimidating than in-person talk therapy, and for those who decide they need more help, they can act as a bridge to further treatment.
Start with a trial offer and evaluate the results. Many of these apps provide discounted rates to businesses should you decide to move forward with a paid plan. Remember, the most efficient cure is often an ounce of prevention.
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