10/02/2023

Promoting Employee Wellness in the Age of Virtual Work

By: Editorial Drake Wellbeing Hub

The shift to remote work due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a number of challenges for employees and organisations combined. With the blurred lines between work and home life, it can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance and promote employee wellness.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, over half of working adults reported feeling burnt out due to the pandemic and over 60% reported that their mental health had been negatively impacted. Additionally, a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that the pandemic has led to a significant increase in stress, anxiety and depression.

Promoting employee wellness in a virtual work setting is crucial to maintaining employee productivity and wellbeing. Organisations need to be mindful of the different approach required to managing employee health and wellbeing, when the workforce is remote or even hybrid. One effective way to do this is to promote self-care and encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day. This can include taking a few minutes to stretch, meditate or go for a walk. Employers can also offer virtual yoga or fitness classes, or encourage employees to engage in physical activity.

Another way to promote employee wellness is to encourage social connections. This can be done through virtual team-building activities, regular check-ins or team meetings. Creating a sense of community and connection can help to mitigate feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Additionally, employers can provide resources and support for mental health, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or virtual counselling services. This can help employees to manage stress and access support where and when they need it. Through our own research, we have found that there are two primary barriers to EAP uptake: awareness and stigma. Organisations need to ensure employees have an understanding of the support channels available to them. In addition, they need to ensure their workforce feel comfortable and at ease accessing these services. It can be helpful to promote 24/7 access as well as being entirely confidential, so that employees can feel assured that their consultations are in full discretion, between themselves and their assigned psychologist or counsellor.

Promoting employee wellness in a virtual work setting is essential for maintaining employee productivity and wellbeing. By encouraging self-care, promoting social connections and providing resources and support for mental health, employers can help employees to navigate the challenges of remote work and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

 

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