Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Are you a HR employee within an organisation, someone holding an Employee Wellbeing role, or a employee who believes their organisation could add to their corporate wellbeing programme? If so, this article is for you.
Lots of companies have started to recognise the value of employee satisfaction and wellbeing to creating a happy and long lasting workforce, with an estimated 70% of companies having some kind of structured programme in place. It’s not hard to see why as awareness around mental health, stress and finding a work-life balance has increased dramatically over recent years.
Some of the benefits from having a workplace wellness programme in your organisation include, but aren’t limited to:
Reducing stress - Mind-body practises such as yoga have a profound effect on a person’s nervous system, which can help to regulate both physical and mental health. Meditation practises like Mindfulness have been empirically shown to; have a positive impact on lowering stress, reduce emotional reactivity and improve working memory and concentration, all things that help you get the most from your employees.
Reducing aches and pains - Mind-body practises such as yoga, when taught in a way that encourages agency and physical exploration, rather than an idea of forcing your body into particular rigid shapes, helps people to discover techniques and tools to manage their physical wellbeing. Yoga helps to strengthen the body, increase mobility and to reduce tension through breath and relaxation techniques.
Reducing costs - By investing in corporate wellbeing you are investing in the physical and mental health of your employees. Mind-body practises can help to teach tools to manage stress and reduce the risk of employee burnout. A well thought our employee wellbeing programme can reduce the number of sick days taken and make your workforce more productive.
Promoting healthy behaviours - Workplace wellness programmes can have a significant impact on the lives of employees both and and out the workplace by promoting regular healthy behaviours. Once people start implementing better health behaviours in one area of their life they often start making better health choices in other areas, meaning the benefits can extend beyond your organisation.
Over the last few months the country has faced an unprecedented level of uncertainty with COVOID-19. Organisations with fixed offices have seen their staff work from solely or mostly from home, and this might reflect in long term changes in flexible working policies. While working from home might be helping to create a greater sense of work life-balance in some employees lives, it does make it harder to check in with them, and brings about a different set of issues that may affect their wellbeing.
The potential issues surrounding employee wellbeing when working from home:
A sub-optimal desk set up - With the uncertainty around how long people we might be working from home, employees may not have invested in a ergonomic desk set up. This can create extra strain on posture which might lead to stiffness, tension and pain across the neck (tech neck is a thing!), shoulders and lower back. Over lockdown employees might be moving less than usual, both with exercise and Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) and this can lead to a loss in muscle strength that would previously have supported their posture.
Who they share their workspace with - While some employees might be the only one in their household working from home, bare in mind many employees might be sharing their place of work with other flatmates, who were already or now working from home. In the right environment this might create the sense of a community or co-working space, in others it might create additional struggles for access to internet, table space and managing break times. This can create stress and tension in a place which before would have been their place of rest and relaxation.
Juggling childcare and work - Particular over the summer holidays employees, and particularly female employees, will have additional practicalities to consider when working from home, particularly as a single parent or the sole parent working from home. Lots of workplaces will be aware of this and offer some flexibility in what hours their staff work but it can place an additional burden of guilt on the employee that, in their eyes, they might be less present as either an employee, parent or both.
Zoom fatigue - It’s a real thing! Video calling requires more focus that a face-to face meeting would. When multiple people are on a call its harder to read non-verbal cues and a lag in relaying the conversation means that interruptions can occur. When using video software when you’re working from home, you are also allowing a glimpse into your home life, a place that for employees might have previously been a work free zone, and this might feel intrusive. Some staff may also be working harder than previously so they can be ‘seen’ to be working hard and wearing themselves down in the process.
If your workplace doesn’t currently have a corporate wellbeing programme, or they’re looking to expand it, here are just some of the ways you could implement one.
Identify the specific needs of your employees or coworkers - Are they looking for a midday office yoga pick me up to reset and refocus, or do they need a longer practise to help unwind at the end of a busy working day? Are they affected by stress or anxiety around work? By identifying the unique needs of employees we can discuss together what practises might be the most suitable.
Find a time that works best for the most amount of staff - I lead sessions throughout the day and can accommodate sessions before work, lunchtime, and after work. I even deliver evening meditation sessions until 9pm to fit around workplaces that might have parents with young children.
Trial a one off taster session - Not 100% sure what will be most beneficial for your employees? Then give a few shorter sessions a go and ask for feedback from your employees. Involving your colleagues in decision making process is likely to increase enthusiasm and attendance and ensures they are being heard!
Introduce a weekly practise - Whether you’ve decided on mindfulness, chair yoga or corporate yoga classes, make it regular occurrence for the best results. It can help to bring people together that usually wouldn’t cross paths, and create a new weekly activity to increase comradery. We will always review how you think the sessions are going at regular intervals.
Add in additional workshops - Allow employees to learn more about how their practises can support their wellbeing by booking one of my corporate wellbeing workshops. These are tailored to you and most can be anytime between 30 minutes - 2 hours, although longer sessions can also be arranged. My most popular corporate workshops are listed here but please do get in touch for my full list of options.
I am teaching mostly online at the moment via video conferencing software - we can use yours or my own meaning that whether you are in London or beyond we can work together.
Email me now firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started on creating or bolstering your corporate wellbeing programme.
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