Why employees need wellbeing now and after the pandemic
I never would have predicted that I would spend a large portion of 2020 working from my living room. As someone who manages a team across Australia and prefers to be in the office to connect with others and maintain focus, I knew it was going to be difficult for me to ensure that myself and the team were supported not only with staying productive in an uncertain time but making sure that everyone was getting through each day, each week with their wellbeing intact.
Prior to the pandemic, part of my personal wellbeing involved swimming five days a week and Squad training at my gym, which helped me keep healthy and in a routine that provided structure to my workday.
When gyms closed as part of the first wave of restrictions, I was devastated but did what everyone else in Australia did: cleared out the equipment stock at Rebel Sport and Catch.com. Being stuck at home and only allowed out to exercise meant that I was punctuating my day with bursts of physical activity and walks. This was great for my physical side and helped somewhat my mental state but there was still so much more to a wellbeing model than step counts.
"I found that stretching and meditation sessions helped me separate my work day and my personal day, when all of this was essentially happening in the same room of the house."
Learning how to breathe more consciously and maintaining focus on tasks at hand, ensured that I managed the inevitable distractions that arise when you work from home. I also wanted to see what advantages I could take with the new restrictions. With no-one being allowed to go to restaurants and no need for ‘dressing up,’ I knew that we could use this time to save and so we set about reviewing the budget, to see what gains we could make over in the immediate future. It actually became quite a motivator and reinvigorated my passion for saving and planning.
"By taking a holistic approach to our employee wellbeing model, one that’s proactive, personal and inclusive, our company has been quickly able to adapt a number of initiatives to help support our wellbeing when we need it most."
I’ve found the same across many of the business leaders I’ve spoken with – it’s an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of improving the employee experience, no matter where people are located, through wellbeing.This is all part of our own holistic wellbeing strategy, which I’ve seen many HR leaders adopt – Reward Gateway defines a holistic wellbeing strategy as one that is personal, proactive and inclusive - it considers how your people would best benefit fromwellbeing initiatives throughout their everyday lives in a continuous way, rather than being reactive and only having a tick-box approach.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has become all the more urgent as we’ve seen employees at all companies of all different sizes and industries struggle financially, mentally and physically as their environments have constantly changed.
Client Spotlight: Henley Properties
That’s why we’ve been excited for our teams to help clients like Henley, who have employees in the residential building industry right across Australia which meant that at any time they had employees living and working under different COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. Physical wellbeing has always been a well-managed initiative however they were very conscious of the impact the restrictions would have on their employees’ mental health.
‘The Conversation Corner’ was created in conjunction with R U OK Day and as a response to their employees working remotely. This space inspires employees to have a meaningful conversation and check in on their workmates every day. These conversations went beyond asking R U OK? As Henley provided their employees with resources on identifying the signs that someone was not OK, how to prepare and the conversation and what to do when someone is not OK.
"Employees can feel more supported, connected and encouraged to reach out for help if they felt in need."
To share this idea beyond the conversation corner, the team also introduced peer-to-peer recognition eCards to further encourage people to reach out and make mental health and wellbeing a priority for all of their employees.
Recognising that mental health issues would affect more than employees during periods of isolation the Henley Hub team also introduced a Wellbeing Centre with over 60% of employees accessing the resources on the site since April 2020, over 3,200 page views!
How Reward Gateway supports employee wellbeing pillars
We can help you provide the right wellbeing tactics for your unique employee demographic through a variety of programs we offer to our 1,900+ clients. Here’s a snapshot of how we support financial, mental and physical wellbeing pillars at work:
Supporting wellbeing isn’t just a nice perk anymore for employees, it’s an obligation for businesses to fulfill ways to help these basic human needs, especially when our people need it most.
Plus, improved employee wellbeing is proven to lead to healthier, happier, more productive employees with reduced absenteeism across the business, with one study pointing to 56% of employees who have a wellness program in place taking fewer sick days than those that don’t."By redefining your approach to employee wellbeing to include as many of these pillars and tactics as possible, employers can give their employees the education, support and tools they need to be better versions of themselves both at home and at work – no matter where 'work' might be, or how it continues to change."
My personal wellbeing is more important than ever before so I will continue to keep meditation and stretching as part of my daily routine along with the videos and resources Reward Gateway provides for exercise and support.
Written by: Kameel Martin, Senior Client Success Manager, Reward Gateway
The Reward Gateway for Small Business solution can help support your employees’ wellbeing through expert-led content and tools that cover all three fundamental pillars of wellbeing: Physical, Mental and Financial.
Sign up for a 1-month free trial of Reward Gateway for Small Business below and give your employees the education, support and tools they need to enhance their wellbeing at work and at home.