A Delicate Work-Life Balancing Act
A Delicate Work-Life Balancing Act

Companies worldwide are more focused than ever on the mental health and holistic wellbeing of their workforce. But reaping the benefits of workplace wellness requires effort and commitment from both employers and employees.

Successful businesses have happy, healthy employees. 

 

We spend an average of 50 hours a week at work, so it’s natural that we want to spend that time in an environment where we feel comfortable, valued, and cared for. If work is pure stress, it can cause us severe problems, both mentally and physically. 

 

Being under excessive pressure at work can impact our performance negatively, leading to fatigue, anxiety, and time away. Inevitably, these symptoms have become more prominent as a result of COVID-19.

 

As we grapple with the pandemic and its fallout, it is more important than ever for employers and employees to find new ways to work and interact with each other while taking better care of everyone’s health and wellbeing.

 

Look after yourself and others

Adjusting to new ways of work such as flexible and remote working and the use of satellite offices can have an impact on our wellbeing. However, we can all cultivate wellness by developing better habits.

Video chat with friends
Maintaining your relationships with family and friends is important for overall wellbeing, particularly when working from home.

It is important to create and maintain a regular schedule, for instance, with periodic breaks for recharging. This is to avoid unconsciously working longer hours and never fully switching off, which opens the door for burnouts. For employees working from home, these tips may help make the experience smarter.

 

Don’t be afraid to talk about your fears and concerns with people you trust: The chances are they may feel the same way too. As we practice social distancing, beware of social isolation and make time to stay connected to your support network.

Keep your immune system strong by prioritising personal hygiene and limiting physical contact with other people. Integrating physical and mindfulness activities into your working day eases pressure and increases the production of endorphins. If circumstances allow, go outside for a brisk walk and some fresh air.

 

If you’re a manager, remember you are the first point of contact for many employees and have an important role in their wellbeing. Check in regularly with employees and be available for them, while watching out for signs of distress and fatigue. You should also encourage employees to sharpen their skills with online training, which serves as a good distraction by focusing on learning rather than problematic work issues.

 

The steps outlined above have implications for the way in which companies can support employees and help them to maintain their health and wellbeing.

 

Tracking employees’ wellbeing

Companies should review their wellbeing strategies and expand assistance programmes to ensure employees have full access to the support and practical resources they need. For example, Starbucks is offering 20 free therapy sessions to each of its employees in the United States.

For its part, CLP launched the Virgin Pulse Digital Health and Wellbeing app and fitness device in January. This helps employees develop and track healthier habits that best suit them, which in turn boost their mental wellness and productivity.  

 

“We have seen more than 50% enrolment,” says Fraser Moore, CLP Health and Wellbeing Manager - Group HSE. “It is clear that our colleagues want to learn about all areas of wellness, such as getting active, managing stress, and including wellbeing in their daily routines to support their work-life balance.”

Virgin Pulse Digital Health and Wellbeing platform
CLP employees can connect a fitness tracker (left) to the Virgin Pulse Digital Health and Wellbeing platform to track their activities using mobile apps or laptops.
Three of the advantages of the Virgin Pulse Digital Health and Wellbeing platform are that it:
  • Allows employees to access four pillars of wellbeing anytime: Physical, mental, social and financial.
  • Supports employee engagement with company-wide team challenges, such as the first company-wide step challenge. 
  • Encourages employee communication by allowing them to join leader boards, set mini challenges, and start interest groups. 

Returning to the office

To help employees gradually return to the workplace, companies should communicate new guidelines and protocols effectively, a study by research organisation the Conference Board suggests. 

 

Tesla’s Return to Work Playbook offers clear guidelines on social distancing and workspace norms. CLP provided personal protective equipment and sent caring kits to employees as a great way to start the move back to the office. 

 

Technology and workplace design are also vital to prioritise employee health, comfort and safety in the office. Amazon created its own tool, the Distance Assistant, that uses depth sensors and AI-enabled camera to track human movements and gives off a signal when employees are less than 1.8 metres from each other.

 

With health and wellness becoming a priority worldwide, companies are rapidly upgrading measures to help and safeguard their employees. During and after the pandemic, employees should develop better habits to cultivate wellness, and companies should create customised solutions to support employee wellbeing for the good of everyone.