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COVID-19 - Transforming your Wellness Strategy

Generally, offering your team members the flexibility to work remotely can provide many benefits including improved work life balance, less stress, lowered turnover and absence rates, fewer sick days and a reduced number of stress related disability claims. However, this is a different world than it was before COVID-19. We aren't simply offering staff the option to work from home, we are imposing it in an effort to meet public health orders and ever-changing government recommendations.

Now is the time to build new health and wellness initiatives that target a remote workforce. It is now more critical than ever to maintain engagement and promote and protect your employee's mental and physical well-being.

Employee Check-In Surveys

Do you know how your workforce is coping throughout the pandemic from home? Building an employee check-in survey to see how they are feeling from a support perspective is a great start. Communication tools are key to maintaining engagement and reducing your team's overall stress.

Some topics may cover whether or not the company's health benefits currently fit their needs, if they feel that they are receiving adequate support from leaders during this time, and/or if they feel that they have the proper technology and office equipment at home to work efficiently and comfortably. Questions related to COVID-19 can be added to your existing annual or quarterly survey or can stand on their own as a shorter more inclusive COVID-19 specific survey.

Employee surveys are excellent at gathering detailed and honest answers by ensuring that the privacy of the responders will be maintained. They are also a great way to consolidate feedback in order to analyze common areas of concern and address them strategically and efficiently.

Virtual Team Meetings - The Monthly "Team Call"

At least once a month, we facilitate a "fun" team meeting virtually. There are many great activities out there that will de-stress your team and help them get to know each other better from separate environments. We believe that not everything needs to be so serious and tight collared, so scheduling fun non-work-related meetings is a must in our culture. It's also increasingly difficult to build and maintain relationships with other team members, especially new ones, when working remotely without having the usual water cooler, coffee break and staff kitchen run-ins.

This week we ran two activities in our monthly team call. The first activity is called "Fill in the Blank". Each participant has an opportunity to come up with fun "Fill in the Blank" questions and put them on post-it notes. Each of the post-it notes are held up for the participants and they fill in the blanks. An example would be "If I had a million dollars I would __________" or "When I dance, I look like ___________".

The second activity is a fun game we call "Two Truths and a Lie". Each participant has 3 post-it notes and on 2 of the post-it notes, write down two truths about themselves and on the remaining post-it note, one lie. Each team member has their opportunity to hold up all three post-it notes while the other participants either work together or individually to figure out which 2 are truths and which one represents a lie. Once they have their guesses ready, they are presented. Once all guesses are presented, the receiving team member tells the truth about which two were the truth and which post-it note was a lie. An example would be "I love Hawaiian pizza," or "My father was a teacher".

Needless to say, we mix it up, we allow different team members to take the lead if they wish and we make sure that we keep our "work talk" out of our team call.

Group Health Benefits Webinars

If you have a great broker to manage your group health and benefits plan like we do, they have contacts at your provider or within their network that will be happy to facilitate online webinars for your employees at no cost to you. The costs in other cases can be claimed through your paramedical coverage through your Private Health Insurance Plan. Below are some examples of session facilitator types and topics.

A Psychologist - Balancing Mental Health while Working from Home

A psychologist can hone in on specific limitations and common struggles experienced by your team in today's work from home environment. They can also answer any questions that your team may have as it relates to mental health resources.

A recommendation for one of our clients was to send out an employee check-in survey prior to the Psychologist facilitating the online workshop. This way, they have the information to review prior to the session so that they are able to better tailor it to the group.

The Holistic Nutritionist

A Nutritionist can host an online webinar related to healthy eating while working from home.

Taking it a step further, hiring a Holistic Nutritionist or my favorite - Orsha Magyar the CEO & President of Neurotrician to coach your team on the meaning of "brain food". Her expertise blends holistic nutrition and brain (neuro) science. She uses an evidence-based approach (key) to explain what foods improve brain health, focus, memory, performance, and emotional balance.

An Ergonomics Specialist - Setting up your "At-Home" Office

An Ergonomics Specialist will educate your workforce on how to setup their office "at home" and what they can be doing throughout the day in terms of stretching and break intervals in an effort to maintain balance, fluidity, creativity and physical well-being.

A taxable wellness account can cover employee expenses related to ergonomic equipment. One client of ours, offers a recurring allowance meant to cover expenses related to home office equipment.

EFAP - Employee Family Assistance Plan Advisor

EAFP or EAP plans can offer your team members immediate and remote psychological, financial and legal support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a very low premium cost.

By booking an expert advisor from your EAP provider to host a group webinar, your team will learn all they need to know about the plan and the support that it offers.

Team Fit-Bit Challenge

With restrictions being slowly lifted, as we begin to start living our lives again outdoors, a fit-bit team challenge is an excellent way for the team to engage with each other, maintain their competitive edge, and manage & balance their physical and mental health. Fitbit challenges can be recurring, setup for a term of a weekend, a week or even a month and activity trackers can be expensed through a taxable wellness account. Each team or team member will log their steps at the end of the day with an appointed coordinator who tallies up everyone's balances at the end of the challenge.

Fitbit also offers an enterprise health platform called Fitbit Care. It stands to motivate employees to take ownership of their own health outcomes. It covers everything up to and including chronic condition management. Fitbit also released their new solution "Ready for Work" in June to help employers manage workplace health & safety requirements that are COVID-19 specific.

The Virtual Book Club

There are several online platforms now that can facilitate a company book club. The Pigeonhole, Book Club by Book Movement, or Bookclubz are just examples of these. They allow you to poll your team, setup virtual meetings & events, gather book ratings, and view all historical books read by your company book club so new hires can feel included and have an opportunity to catch up. A real benefit to having a company book club is alignment. Team members and leaders alike will naturally integrate the learnings and new language into their daily collaborations.

Using Kindle or Audible allows for instant access to books and also provides the reader with the option of the audio book version or online reader's version of the book. If you have a rewards program in place, an option to cash in rewards for book credits is an excellent way to promote ongoing development and creative growth.

Fitness, Yoga and Meditation Apps

Fitness, Yoga and Meditation Apps allow for wellness practices in the comfort of your own home. If your company already has a taxable wellness account set-up, then employees will be able to expense the cost of these apps. If not, it would be an excellent employer-paid benefit to offer staff at this difficult time.

Yoga and meditation keep the mind clear and improves focus while strengthening the entire body from a holistic perspective. A 360° fitness app like the new Peloton app offers thousands of classes to your employees for as low as $12.99/month. If you have a smaller budget, a communication providing a list of free fitness apps that they can download will also do the trick.

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This post is courtesy of Alicia Bolton, President & CEO

Contact us today @ 403-510-2532 or 250-800-5656

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