This past year, the pandemic created some major challenges in all aspects of our lives, particularly work. It also brought employee well-being to the forefront of the conversation, but will the topic stay as top-of-mind as we return back to a more ‘normal’ workplace?
While 2020 certainly brought chaos, it also allowed for employees to re-evaluate their priorities and show companies that workers can be just as productive in a virtual or hybrid workplace. It revealed that well-being is not only important at the employee-level, but has the capability to make (or break) an organization’s engagement, productivity and profits. As these valued lessons surfaced, so did the importance of employers needing to address the holistic needs of their employees.
So, what do these lessons mean for fostering employee well-being, post-pandemic?
Fostering Well-being through The Five Pillars
The five pillars of employee well-being, developed by Natasha Wallace from Conscious Works, provides a general overview of the domains to focus on when looking to improve employee well-being. However, the pandemic has provided unique challenges which require more focused solutions.
That’s where the five pillars come in…
1. Emotional Well-being.
Many of us have found ourselves in fight-or-flight mode for quite some time. From risks taken by frontline workers to blurred boundaries between professional and personal life when working at home, it is clear sustainable solutions are needed. Company leaders should be providing organizational support systems to build resilience in employees and offer support for managers. Also, focusing on inclusion of dispersed employees and a supportive work environment are key to preventing burnout.
2. Physical Well-being.
In previous years supporting physical wellbeing may have looked like providing access to gyms or healthy eating options. Now, however, the focus is also on physical safety with disease prevention. With employees potentially split between their home and the office, companies should work to empower employees to make healthy decisions at home. This can look like getting outside and taking a deep breath or encouraging breaks throughout those 8-hour long screen days.
3. Financial Well-being.
With the economy taking a hit from the pandemic, it is no surprise that employees may be having financial related anxieties. Employers can help ease these concerns by taking on initiatives such as financial planning and education.
4. Digital Well-being.
The transition to online work and technologies were a brutal and reactive one. The Zoom fatigue struggle is so real. Moving forward, companies should ensure their workforce is properly upskilled to work effectively with the latest technology. Technology can also be a tool to support employee well-being through services such as virtual exercise classes or mindfulness apps.
5. Social Well-being.
The pandemic certainly isolated many individuals contributing to the dip in well-being and increase in stress felt by employees. We also saw how the pandemic disproportionately affected groups in relation to the workplace. For example, take those that work at home versus frontline workers or those that are essential versus non essential. These new dimensions show the possibility of new inequalities, requiring a broader focus of inclusion.
Despite the struggles, this past year plus also provided a new lens to evaluate the workplace with. Looking towards a post-pandemic workforce, we see a more diverse and mindful working environment promoting better outputs, higher productivity, and ultimately better lives for our employees. Use The Five Pillars of Well-being as a foundation for holistic well-being in your workplace.
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