National Wellness Month: Understanding self-care among your employees

As August marks the start of National Wellness Month, are you doing all you can to promote self-care at work? 

During National Wellness Month, here's how you can encourage self-care at work

Let’s face it – the pandemic and the unprecedented times we face today are changing the way work culture presents itself. We’re more remote than ever before, there’s less interaction with our peers, and it’s easy to get sucked into extra hours when you’re sitting at home.

Self-care must be at the forefront of employers’ minds as we continue to navigate this new era of work culture. Understanding self-care, and what your employees need doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few examples of ways that your communications can help retain your employees, while also showing that you care.

1. Demonstrate an understanding of mental health

Mental health accommodations can be one of the most difficult to take on if you don’t already have some in place. However, they can be some of the most important as employees tackle being remote or hybrid, isolated in unprecedented times, or other uncertainties that may arise.

As you move to make a more people-first work culture, focusing on mental health can help your employees focus on their own self-care and wellness, even in the workplace. While you can offer wellness programs that focus on healthy habits like exercise and eating the right foods, offering things like work flexibility, work-from-home options, or other tactics can mean a little more in these cases.

Making sure that your health insurance policies contain resources for meeting with therapists, and psychiatrists, or even offering deductibles when it comes to prescriptions can help your employees feel more comfortable talking to you and other employees about mental health. As your company moves into a work where mental health is no longer a stigma, you have to keep up, even if it’s small steps to get there.

2. Make financial wellness resources available 

It is vital to make financial wellness resources readily available for your employees. Just as employees are happy when they’re physically and mentally healthy, there is a load of stress pulled from their shoulders if they have some security in their finances.

Bigger life changes, such as a death in the family, a sudden illness that takes on rapidly, moving houses, or anything in between, can come with financial burdens that without some background knowledge can be overwhelming.

If you work in an industry that puts you at a higher risk of developing health problems, such as mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, lung cancers, or other life-threatening cases, knowing you have financial support as a family or an individual can be key. Having resources available in these cases, such as learning about mesothelioma trust funds for your family, or cancer treatment centers and health services the company insurance covers, can help lessen the financial burden in times of need.

In other situations such as moving houses, a family member losing their job, etc., offering these financial services to help them rework budgets, allow time for PTO, or even just to reduce stress can keep your employees happy. You’ll be taking the first step towards less stressed employees, which can only improve productivity and overall happiness in the workplace.

3. Offer wellness initiatives

A great way to attract and retain employees with different lifestyles is by offering wellness programs. Even if it’s as simple as reimbursing gym memberships or encouraging company wellness events like volleyball and kickball, your employees will feel valued if you make it easier for them to do the things that they love. Don’t expect this to go the right way immediately. You may have failed programs. It can be hard to make sure everyone is benefitting is hard, especially when remote, so check in regularly to make sure your programs are well received.

A 2022 Employee Benefits Trend Study revealed that only 33% of employers actually offer a health and wellness program, while over 75% of employees state that this is a must-have for their occupation. The gap here is only increasing, as benefits such as these start to become more prevalent in creating work-life balance.

Wellness programs are an important tool for retaining and maintaining happy employees. Focusing on workplace wellness can seem like a challenge, but putting a little more time and effort into what you already have in place can make a huge difference. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and talk to your employees about changes they may want to see. You never know what they may suggest!

Ragan will be marking National Wellness Month with our inaugural Workplace Wellness Conference, which takes place Aug 16-17 in Chicago. Register now! 

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