The Importance of Workplace Wellness as Employees Return to Work

Jul 2, 2021 | 0 comments

2020 brought a whirlwind of changes no one saw coming. But as employees return to work after an unexpectedly long stretch of remote work, it’s increasingly important for employers to emphasize workplace wellness.

Many employees are dealing with mixed emotions; they’ve appreciated less time commuting, but they’re looking forward to collaborating with colleagues again. And with a renewed focus on health, most will bring lingering concerns about the general safety of the workplace. Every employer must ensure that workers find an environment that protects them and focuses on overall wellness.

Best Practices for Workplace Wellness

With federal, local, and private guidelines in place, most organizations have already instituted best practices such as social distancing and PPE provisions. But employers need to move a step further by creating programs that educate, engage, and inform employees on wellness issues. 

As workers return, managers must develop clear community safety guidelines and detailed phases of re-entry. It’s also essential for employers to communicate these guidelines and changes throughout implementation. Organizations continue to navigate new territory, and leadership teams may need to pivot as expectations and conditions change.

On-Site Healthcare Solutions

With the increased demand for health screenings, more employers are working to navigate the healthcare needs. This heightened awareness opens the door to a paradigm shift in access to care. DOCS Health has helped paved the way implementing programs and health services that keep employees healthy. 

Innovative organizations are seeking efficient on-site healthcare solutions from third parties to enhance workplace wellness. On-site facilities offer immediate care for acute concerns such as a fever or injury. But they also provide a way for employees to manage chronic conditions or seek preventive coaching and resources for long-term health.

Accessible Healthcare from Home

However, wellness doesn’t stop at work. The need for more inclusive employee assistance programs (EAPs) has intensified over the last year. Since the shutdown, many people have avoided gyms and doctors’ offices—even after reopening. The long-term result of this deferred health maintenance raises concerns over conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, and depression.

These concerns are well-grounded, especially since:

  • 27% of people have been exercising less than usual.
  • 32% of people have high cholesterol
  • Someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds in the U.S.
  • 40% of people are overweight

The popularity of telehealth is on the rise, and 83% of people expect to use virtual visits with providers after the pandemic. This consumer trend underscores the importance of digital therapeutics and coaching for chronic conditions. Workplace environments that institute virtual resources through video content, live streams, and telehealth platforms will win with their employees.

Promote General Wellness at Work

As workers return, integrating employees is just one of the concerns for organizations. The global pandemic has amplified mental health issues with complex consequences. A KFF Health Tracking Poll found that respondents report difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%) related to anxiety.

Employers should encourage more physical activity among workers throughout the day. While some employers may schedule devoted exercise sessions, others are content focusing on light activity. Awareness campaigns that focus on healthy practices, including exercise, nutrition, meditation, and sleep can encourage behavioral change. By promoting a community that values wellness, employees will be more inclined to care for their health outside the workplace, too.

Workplace Wellness is Good for the Workplace

It sounds like common sense, but supporting employee wellness is beneficial for every aspect of the organization. When workers are physically and mentally healthy, they’re less prone to the harmful effects of stress, more likely to enjoy their work, better team members, and more productive. They’re also less likely to miss work or retire early from their positions. Plus, 87% of workers consider a company’s health and wellness programs when weighing job opportunities. Adding a clear focus on workplace wellness produces benefits today and years from now.