Employers know the most valuable asset for their business is the individuals who collectively create their workforce. Employees are accountable for implementing the majority of all business decisions, actions, and solutions directly impacting productive business accomplishments. Employers know maximizing the efforts of their team corresponds with maximizing the well-being of each employee. Boosting employee productivity is done through mentorship, promotions, authentic incentives (those that adhere to the individual’s desires), and education (How Employers Secure Ethical Employment Processes, 2020)
Another important incentive that boosts employee productivity and maximizes their potential is, creating and promoting health and wellness programs. The American workforce is suffering from massive amounts of negative emotional and mental turmoil directly affiliated to the coronavirus. The Kaiser Family Foundation published a health tracking poll in May 2020 that found nearly four out of ten Americans say COVID-19 has/is negatively influencing their mental health by compounding worry and stress. The American Psychiatric Association (2020) conducted a poll that found 62% of Americans are anxious about the coronavirus infecting family/loved ones; 36% identify an impact on their mental health; 57% are worried about a shortage of food and other resources, and 68% fear a lasting impact on the American economy. Dr. Elke Van Hoof, professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, published his findings that recorded people in quarantine exhibit symptoms of low mood, irritability, insomnia, anger, stress, anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and depression.
In response, many business leaders have introduced innovative health and wellness initiatives that are making a substantial impact on their employees’ health, wellness, and productivity. Virtually. Connecting employees via video-calls to cultivate professional relationships and social connections, creating and practicing interactive physical fitness routines, and mental/emotional development programs. These initiatives are building stronger teams capable of dealing with COVID fatigue – while maximizing overall performance and productivity.
Employee Health and Wellness: Exercise
Want to get your teams focused? Get them moving – together!
Exercise helps boost IQ (BBC), improve mental health (NCBI), enhance memory (Harvard Health Publishing), and relieve stress (HelpGuide). Exercise plays a critical role in upgrading an individual’s overall mental, emotional, and physical health. According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, “Healthcare industry experts estimate that between 70 to 90 percent of healthcare spending is caused by problems associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices that can lead to chronic diseases.” This research also shows that companies who instill health and wellness programs retain employees longer, compared to those who do not.
What all these articles have in common is their observation that exercise promotes/enhances employee health and wellness. When practiced regularly, healthier lifestyle choices help individuals prevent chronic diseases. Leading us to conclude: Employers that establish interactive health programs for employees save the company money and create lasting relationships with their employees.
Due to current world events, the way employers promote employee health and wellness has shifted virtually. Employers have started to innovate new ideas from existing interactive health programs and utilizing popular web/mobile apps, hardware, and tools.
Japanese Radio Calisthenics
In the early 1920s, the Health Insurance Bureau of the Post Office of Japan created radio broadcasts that proposed to improve/maintain individual health and wellbeing. In 1928 Tokyo Central Postal Bureau (now NHK) broadcasted their first calisthenic program which has since become the longest-running program in Japanese media (In Hamaamatsu, 2015). Currently in many Japanese and American construction, factory, office, and government environments, employees are encouraged to gather together and participate in radio/television calisthenics broadcasts. These daily broadcasters play an important role within the Japanese work culture and the Japanese people’s daily routine. Radio Calisthenics are often related to the Japanese people’s vigorous life expectancy (Japan-American Society of Houston, 2020).
Implementation: Employers can promote employee health and wellness virtually, by organizing and scheduling designated times for daily calisthenics. Leaders can schedule video-calls with employees and lead/display 3-5-minute interactive exercises.
Most companies already offer gym membership perks, stipends, and/or discounts. Another way employers can virtually promote employee health and wellness is by offering stipends on individual health and wellness applications, digital programs, and equipment. Developing employee incentives that correspond with individual health and wellness empowers employees to take on these new challenges.
Some companies have recently sent Apple Watches to their employees in order to encourage physical activity and monitor virtual health and wellness programs.
Additional ideas to research/include in virtual employee health and wellness programs are:
Tonal – (Resistance Training)
An entire home gym and interactive personal training mirror. 200lbs of digital resistance, hundreds of workouts catered to anyone’s fitness goals, expert trainers, and accurate analysis of fitness accomplishments. Financing starting at $149/month + $49 per month membership.
Mirror – (Calisthenic Training)
A beautifully designed digital wall mounted mirror. Calisthenic influenced personal training programs (yoga, barre, Bootcamp, boxing, kickboxing, cardio, strength, Pilates, and more), comprehensive analysis of fitness performance, and expert trainers. Financing starting at $42/month + $39 per month membership.
Peloton – (Cycling and Running)
Offers two separate yet equally superior architected home gym equipment: Peloton Bike & Peloton Tread. These exercise machines are invigorating people and motivating them to achieve greater personal results. Expert trainers, innovative workouts filled with positive encouragements, energy, and music, accessibility (mobile, web, smart tv, and seamless interactions with other 3rd party applications), professional UI/UX, and community #togetherweride. Peloton Bike financing starting at $49/month, Peloton Tread financing starting at $111/month, and monthly memberships fees of $39 (free trial available).
Employee Health and Wellness: Mental Awareness
Many employers in America offer their employees some type of health/medical benefits. Healthcare perks are influential toward the overall health, wellbeing, and productivity of employees and are important incentives individuals search for when applying for employment. Some employers are going a step further in leu of COVID-19, by establishing employee wellness programs that focus on promoting positive mental and emotional well-being.
Employers are promoting mental and emotional health and well-being virtually, by offering individual stipends or creating corporate accounts with advancing companies focused on mental/emotional health and wellbeing (examples listed below). These mental health platforms offer great resources for promoting positive mental/emotional health and wellbeing (Psycom, 2020).
“Get some headspace.” This app focuses on helping individuals learn the skills of mindfulness, meditation, relief from stress/anxiety, and inducing sleep and/or focus. Individual subscriptions are $69.99/year or $12.99/month (free trial available).
2017’s iPhone App of the Year and one of the best mental health and wellness app available. This app provides guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, relaxing music, and more. Individual subscriptions are $69.99/year or a one-time payment of $399.99, business accounts available (free trial available).
Employee Health and Wellness: Relationships
In Debra Umberson & Jennifer Montez’s Journal of Health and Social Behavior, sociologists identified an acute link between social relationships (quality & quantity) and its effects on an individual’s mental health. Due to COVID-19, the majority of our employees’ individual social interactions and relationships are currently being limited. However, employers who actively promote virtual relationships/interactions amongst staff are establishing social connections that fuel positive frequencies within digital work environments. Directly increasing employee’s health, wellness, and productivity.
To learn more on developing and maintaining virtual relationships with employees, please click on the image:
Employee Health and Wellness: Conclusion – What Does All This Mean?
Keep your staff focused on healthy lifestyle choices and they’ll focus better on expanding your business.
The American workforce is experiencing a decline in overall employee health and wellness due to the lasting effects of COVID-19. But employers who recognize the value of rewarding physical exercise, mental/emotional development, and the cultivation of professional relationships (social connections) are taking back the control of their destiny. By developing a healthy and agile employee, employers productively boost their overall business infrastructure.
Take the lead. Put your employees first and help them prioritize the company’s objective with focus, drive, and powerful interpersonal skills. It is true that an employee’s productivity is the heartbeat that keeps that company’s growth. Think about it. Don’t you want your staff to be the best version of themselves?
Business woman choosing fitness -DepositPhotos