Ways to prioritize employee wellbeing in the workplace | Viewpoint

Ways to prioritize employee wellbeing in the workplace | Viewpoint


Mental health is a critical component of workplace wellbeing. According to the CDC Workplace Health Resource Center, workplace wellbeing is the ability of individuals to address normal stresses, work productively and realize one’s highest potential. Research shows that employees in good health are more likely to experience increased productivity, a better quality of life and a greater likelihood of contributing to their communities.

Despite this, many workplaces still fail to provide the necessary benefits and programs to support their employees’ wellness. Issues such as employee burnout are becoming increasingly common in today’s workplaces as a result. For example, a recent survey from Deloitte found that 70 percent of professionals felt their employers were not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization — with 21 percent indicating their company did not offer any programs or initiatives to combat burnout.

To help combat employee burnout and prioritize workplace wellbeing, companies must strive to promote a healthy work-life balance and provide their employees with benefits that acknowledge their lives outside of the workplace. Aside from offering a competitive benefits package, another way organizations can support their employees’ health and wellbeing is through offering a suite of wellness initiatives and perks. Some examples include:

Unlimited paid time off (PTO)
Adopting this policy gives employees the flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance and take control of their own schedules, with the peace of mind they do not have to prioritize or keep track of PTO hours. It also ensures that employees feel more comfortable taking time off to recover from illnesses or health incidents, so that when they are at the office or on the clock, they are feeling their best and therefore able to deliver their best work.

Half-day summer Fridays
Another way to promote a healthy work-life balance is through closing at noon on Fridays during the summer. This policy can be an effective way to boost morale — allowing employees to enjoy a jumpstart on the weekend and demonstrating that their employer supports and encourages well-deserved time off. Of course, when implementing this perk, employers should offer guidelines to employees around pending deadlines or critical deliverables so employees can plan their time accordingly and understand exceptions to the policy.

Flexible work model
While face-to-face interactions are critical to fostering deep relationships with colleagues and clients, employers might consider empowering their employees to make their own decisions about how and where they work. Through adopting a flexible work model, companies can inspire a healthy work-life balance by allowing employees to spend their workdays in environments where they feel the most comfortable and productive.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Many employers also offer a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to their employees at no cost. Through these programs, individuals can receive private, confidential support and gain access to a wide variety of resources. Support and resources typically assist with issues like caregiver or personal stress, child or elder care concerns, anxiety and more.

Health screening program
Another benefit that can help support employee wellness is a health screening program such as Excellus’s Blue4U program. Through this program, employees can gain access to a confidential health screening. This screening provides employees with potential health concerns to be monitored as well as areas where they could make lifestyle changes.

Health clinics & events
In addition to traditional health clinics and events such as annual flu shot clinics, companies might consider additional opportunities to host events and provide access to health resources. In today’s digital work environment, an effective example may be holding a blue light glasses event where employees can speak to an eyesight professional, test out and purchase blue light glasses to prevent eye strain from extensive screen time.

Wellness challenges
An additional way to help employees manage their physical and mental wellbeing is through purchasing a company-wide subscription to an application such as Calm, a mediation app, or Wellbeats, a fitness and nutrition resource center. To increase use of these resources, companies can hold organization-wide challenges, encouraging and rewarding participants who take a fitness class or complete a mediation through the app.

Additional perks
During particularly busy times, when employees may be experiencing longer hours, tighter deadlines and increased demands, companies can help combat stress by offering additional outlets and perks for employees. These may include weekly happy hours, healthy snacks, catered meals, chair massages, therapy dog visits and more. In addition, companies can establish segments such as “Mental Health Mondays” where they can share resources dedicated to mental health and other workplace wellbeing topics.

Healthy employees are happy, productive employees. No matter how a company chooses to recognize the value of their employees and support their wellbeing, offering programs like the ones referenced above can have positive impacts on business success and employee retention.

Kaitlyn Payne is the Benefits Manager and head of the Wellness Committee at The Bonadio Group. Kaitlyn is extremely passionate about ensuring employers offer a comprehensive benefits and wellness program that improves the employee experience and controls costs to employees and the organization. Kaitlyn graduated with a degree in Health and Human Services from the University at Buffalo. She spent the early years of her career in the insurance broker space and holds a NYS Life, Accident and Health license.