As 2022 looms in the foreground, we are winding down 2021 and sorting through the last two years of living, working, moving, and surviving during a pandemic. Some are referring to 2021 as the “Great Wait” as companies scramble to get workers back to the office and employees are left wondering what will happen next and how will we begin 2022? These questions, their doubts, and the looming new year bring up an opportunity for everyone to make a change – hopefully in the positive direction.
Although the Pandemic has brought about many new and disturbing trends to our workplaces – the most alarming ones are the ones that employers are facing now – how to keep employees from leaving, how to bring them back safely, how to reopen and begin returning to the way “things used to be” are just a few. Yet, one thing this period has offered everyone – is a time to reflect and re-evaluate how, where, when, and even why we work. The consensus amongst everyone is a resounding turn to wellness in the workplace – whether that be at home, in a brick and mortar, or a combination/hybrid situation. The following are a few of the key strategies and opportunities that can help to ease employees back to work, employers more freedom in choices, and offer something for all regarding a healthier wellness program to employees and employers in most every situation.
While this can seem uninteresting and rout for some – the old-fashioned questionnaire sent either via email or by paper (if in person) – is a great way to discover what your employees are desiring and for employees to find out what their employers are considering.
Knowing what to expect and what is expected is an easy way to come to a successful agreement and plan of intent for the new year by all parties.
Offering a hybrid work plan – one that involves 1-3 days at home or office or vice versa shifts the work situation to a more flexible one that can be molded to appeal to both employees and employers alike. Most of these will depend on the industry yet giving employees an opportunity to work from home for one to all days (if they choose) is helpful in making the transition back to the office more pleasant and less abrupt than demanding they return to the past traditions of a 40-hour in person work week.
In-person and Virtual Activities & Meetings
Whether your employees are back in the office or working part-time at home or in a hybrid situation; wellness choices and activities need to be a part of the company culture. Offering both in-person and virtual options will become the norm and being able to offer this hybrid choice for your workers will ensure that they stay active, alert, and well no matter where they are. This can be done by offering a mediation, Yoga, or other mindful movement options on a regular schedule. Also, incorporating some type of movement sequence or breathing practice for all meetings will also ensure that the workplace environment fosters wellness and well-being for everyone each day.
Mindfulness and Mediation
Posting a list of options on the employee information board (virtually and in person) that give your employees unique options to be more mindful throughout the day such as:
- Mindful eating – walk outside and eat your lunch
- Meditation bursts (1-5 mins throughout the day)
- Exercises to improve your posture that you can do at your desk
- Moves to do at your desk for lower back care
Stress Management Options
The changes, uncertainties, fears, and strangeness of the last two years have only magnified stress levels for everyone. Stress affects both the mind and the body and can be a big concern for employers because of missed work, attention deficits on the job, accidents, etc. Giving employees options to help them lower their anxiety levels through movement, meditation, and even offering options for mental health care and therapy can help to reduce stress and anxiety and give employees better strategies for dealing with uncertainty and changes down the line.
While there are many options for employers, the overall best one for both employee and employer is to offer a wide variety of small, easy to implement strategies, ideas, classes, options, and activities to promote a more positive workplace and wellness environment. Having choices will give an employee more opportunity to choose the ones that will work best for them individually. Most of the options listed above require minimal set up and implementation so can begin at the start of the year and a company can continue to add on more throughout the year, thus enhancing their benefits offerings to potential and current employees.
Rejuv at Work also offers several options for Mind-Body classes and/or workshops such as: Meditation, Stretch at Your Desk, Deskercise, Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. These are all ways to help reduce and manage stress and anxiety; as well as promote a healthier and happier outlook and work environment. Mindful movement strategies are wonderful ways to add healthier alternatives and ideas for your staff and employees.