Five tips for implementing a successful workplace wellbeing programme – Times of India

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Dr. Ashwin Naik is an author and award-winning entrepreneur. He is an Ashoka Fellow as well as a TED Fellow and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. As an entrep … MORE
Employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset. Therefore, companies must constantly find ways to support their people’s health and wellbeing so that the latter can perform and contribute to their full potential. Many variables contribute to or exacerbate workplace stress, including irregular work hours, financial or role-related uncertainty, social or cultural factors, and others. These may contribute to a decline in mental health or lead to illnesses like depression or anxiety. However, unless they are empowered and emboldened to do so, most employee do not voice their distress aloud – especially if they feel that such behaviour would be frowned upon.
Workplace wellbeing programmes have an important role to play in preventing and managing wellness risks at work.
The companies offering such programmes are not just seen as more attractive employers, they also reap substantial tangible returns on their investments in wellbeing programmes. However, there is a perception that starting a wellbeing programme can be expensive. Fortunately, there are several health and wellness initiatives available to both small and large enterprises that don’t require deep pockets.
Here are five simple and low-cost tips to get started with wellbeing initiatives at work.
1. Create safe spaces 
Employees are more inclined to start a conversation with you about their concerns if they believe they will be heard and acknowledged. To make this process easier, employers can initiate peer-support groups with the help of mental health professionals as a first step. These groups allow people to connect and share their experiences dealing with stress and anxiety in a safe and empathetic space. Managers must also be trained in how to create safe spaces for open dialogue about health, especially mental health, so that their team-mates feel comfortable asking for help without fear of being judged. This is a simple method to begin promoting workplace wellbeing.
2. Conduct wellbeing assessments
Many companies that provide employee health insurance also offer workplace wellness programmes. This is because physiological screenings and health risk assessments provide organisations with the information, they need to design individualised preventative wellness programmes. Employee health risks are reduced, which lowers the cost of healthcare for each employee – another reason for the growing popularity of wellness programmes!
3. Communicate better with your remote staff
Social networks at the office provide a measure of comfort, support, and validation which are essential for our emotional wellbeing. However, the pandemic has had an adverse impact on these interpersonal interactions. It has become difficult to establish relationships and trust, especially for new employees who may feel alienated or unheard. Therefore, it’s critical to regularly touch base with your remotely-located colleagues. These encounters do not always have to be formal or connected to workplace wellbeing. Create virtual meetups on Friday evenings for remote workers to bring their families or pets or have a virtual pizza party. When people see one other’s human side through such exercises, empathy and mutual trust grows.
4. Look for ways to ease the burden
Working under tight deadlines on a regular basis increases the danger of mental and physical health problems among employees. The pressure to work ‘hard and fast’ increases the probability of health problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and others. Look for cultural reforms to lower stress if your organisation has a high-stress culture. Work scheduling and management tools should also be implemented to ensure that work queues are simplified throughout the organisation.
5. Partner with wellbeing experts
HR professionals may struggle to detect and handle wellness issues on their own at times. While programmes like wellness evaluations can help you better understand your employees’ current health condition, employee therapy and counselling can provide the necessary psychological assistance. Collaborate with a reputable employee wellness services provider to find a wide choice of employee wellness programmes and solutions. As an employer, when you take steps to become more flexible, approachable, and fair, people get inspired to find satisfaction in their work, and are less likely to get burnt out or hunt for another employer who cares about them. However, the most effective wellbeing solutions are strategic, holistic, and interwoven into the organisation’s fabric. The best firms prioritise employee well-being and ensure that people come first for the benefit of both their employees and their business.
Strategically-designed wellness programmes offer a structured framework to manage employee wellbeing. They improve overall health and engagement, make employees feel appreciated, and improve your company’s employer brand. Of course, every company’s wellbeing programme must be tailored to its culture and circumstances. Partnering with a corporate wellness expert can help you assess your current state of employee wellbeing and accordingly design interventions to achieve specific structural, cultural, and behavioural shifts that enhance wellbeing in the workplace.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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