Over the last year, the way we work has irreversibly changed. With remote working, virtual meetings and home-schooling thrown into the mix, it has been an unsettling time for many.
It has also cast a spotlight on the importance of work-life balance strategies since boundaries have been blurred and work environments have been compromised.
That’s not all. The latest findings show that home working is having an impact on employee’s mental health. The reality is that a quarter of people work from their bedroom or sofa, and over half of all employees find it a struggle to ‘switch off’ from work. Furthermore, the majority of home workers (67%) feel less connected to their colleagues, while a third believe that working from home has been overall worse for their health and workplace wellbeing.
Despite all of this, only a third of employees surveyed had been offered mental health support by their employer.
With this in mind, businesses are being encouraged to promote a positive culture around mental health with a raft of employee wellbeing initiatives to address the many issues remote workers face in 2021.
Keen to adopt a better approach to workplace wellbeing? Here are nine ideas to address a better approach:
It has long been known that taking a break is important for performance. While this is easier in an office environment where going for a cup of coffee is a welcomed break, it can be less easy when working from home on your own. However, taking a break for 15-20 minutes has been proven to help cognitive function, so try and build this into your wellbeing programme.
One of the most popular workplace wellbeing ideas is to set shared health goals. Whether it’s setting a certain amount of steps to walk each day, or glasses of water to drink, or even hours of sleep – it can be a great incentive to challenge everyone together with a company health mission.
Some colleagues will prefer to work out alone. If you already offer subsidised membership to gyms near your office, look at expanding this wider, so that home workers don’t have to trek into town to benefit from it.
There are many physical and mental benefits to yoga. It’s known to help with stress-relief, as well as boost circulation, and improve posture.
As such, many companies are signing up to lunchtime yoga classes, allowing colleagues to dial in remotely for virtual classes. It’s a nice incentive and one of the top work-life balance strategies to offer, especially as it helps with mid-day slump too.
Thanks to new legislation brought in on April 1, all employees in Ireland have the ‘right to disconnect’ from work. This must be supported by companies, ensuring that a work-life balance is achieved. Line managers should ‘provide assistance’ to employees who feel obliged to work longer hours than agreed. Simply put, if it’s embedded in your work culture to routinely work long unsociable hours, now is the time to review this approach.
It’s widely adopted in the continent, with local shops often shutting for an afternoon siesta, and now we’re starting to understand its benefits too. A 15-20 minute afternoon nap can help boost productivity, and press reset. Managers can encourage workers to adopt a strategic power nap.
It’s good to talk. In these remote working times, an employer can promote a culture of open communication, by taking the time to talk openly about feelings of stress, anxiety or concerns. Having a regular one-on-one with team members is a great way to stay on top of issues, and help to find solutions, avoiding anxiety build-up over time.
If you haven’t already introduced flexible working into your employee wellbeing programme, now is the time to review how you approach the nine-to-five. With a change in our working lives, childcare and career demands, it has never been more important for businesses to adapt to the changing environment. As if that wasn’t enough, findings reveal that 81% of employees place value on flexible working.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, employees are led by example. Even with the best will in the world, if managers are continuing to send emails at all hours of the day, book in zoom meetings regularly during lunchtime, and not partaking in exercise, then it makes it harder for employees to be their best selves. With this in mind, prioritising employee wellbeing is a cultural shift, and one that needs to be adopted very much from the top down.