The mental health of employees has always been a top priority for many corporate companies. For many organizations, it is ensured by human resources management that employees have ample resources to ensure the well-being of individual workers. In the previous blog, it was discussed that companies who invest in wellness programs in the workplace can see a wide range of benefits, which include boosted productivity and higher return on investments.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) released a document titled “Navigating The New Normal” which advises business leaders on how to provide a workplace environment that ensures the well-being of employees during COVID-19. In this document, CAMH provides a guideline for corporate companies to follow to ensure that the wellness of employees are prioritized during these unprecedented times.
The CAMH document also lists examples of companies that are introducing new strategies to champion employee wellness. In this blog, we will explore four initiatives that companies are doing to prioritize the mental health of employees in the wake of COVID-19.
1) Additional Day Off For Employees
Back in March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to transition into online work all around North America. This sudden change was overwhelming for many employees, particularly those who may have had to make lifestyle changes in order to accommodate for this new normal. For instance, employees who had children that had to go to school now had to make time out of their days to ensure that their children are still engaged in their e-learning sessions.
To make this sudden change easier for employees, Cisco introduced a new initiative back in May called “Me Day”. This day was designed for employees to take a day off in order to recharge from the overwhelming changes both from work and from their own personal lives. Similarly, Scotiabank added an additional paid leave day for employees who may need it in the event of needing medical care, childcare or eldercare. These initiatives by Cisco and Scotiabank are important in ensuring that employees are able to adjust and rest as needed with the drastic change in everything around them.
2) Daily Check-ins with Employees
The daily routine of work made an abrupt stop and completely transitioned into becoming fully virtual for many Canadians. As a result, the day to day interactions that employees would typically have with other coworkers have also shifted to being online. This change has had a negative impact for some workers, due to the fact that they feel more isolated from others. Randstad released an article which stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a bigger strain on the collective mental health for Canadians, and one of the best ways to alleviate this is to ensure employees can connect with one another in the workplace.
For Google, the company launched an online training session designed to make employees and managers more mindful of how their fellow coworkers are feeling. Google employees were trained to provide check-ins with other employees, and detect signs if an employee needs to be reminded of wellness resources. Ernst & Young is also practicing the same method, by ensuring that management is doing more frequent check-ins towards employees to connect with them during these trying times.
3) Online Wellness Seminars For Employees
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are looking for ways to add and bring more value to their corporate wellness initiatives. Solutions such as virtual group webinars, can help foster social connections. Access to health professionals such as Naturopathic Doctors and Personal Trainers can help drive strategies for a prevention based wellbeing approach. Well Street is grounded in preventative wellness and we have been assisting corporate companies with wellness practices for over 7 years. Aviva, one of our clients has provided over 3 years of training for their employees to create a healthy workplace that values the importance of mental well-being.
“We have continued our partnership with Well Street virtually due to the global pandemic. We have hosted monthly virtual seminars including “Teleworking in 2020”, “Creating Balance” and “Mindfulness” for our employees across Canada,” said Mary-Alison Pejskar, the Corporate Responsibility Consultant at Aviva.
“With positive feedback and glowing reviews from our employees, we know we are getting a lot out of the sessions. Often our employees request to share the Well Street presentations with extended family and friends because they find it so valuable.”
4) Enhanced Open Communication and Feedback With Employees
During these unprecedented times, many companies have had to learn simultaneously while they created new initiatives that were intended to help the well-being of employees. The outcome for these initiatives are still uncertain for some companies, but others have made sure to create an environment that allows open communication to see how effective these initiatives are.
The Bank of Montreal (BMO) sent out surveys and hosted Q&A sessions to all employees within the bank. These forms of communication were designed to shape the next actions the bank should take to ensure the wellness of its employees. Mckinsey & Company followed the same approach by conducting town halls and surveys to understand the needs of their employees during these stressful times. The goal for both of these companies is to understand the needs of their own employees, and use the feedback they have gathered through surveys to implement new initiatives.
How Well Street Can Help
At Well Street, we are founded on the principles of introducing healthy practices to the workplace, which encompasses both mental and physical health. Comprised of medical professionals who have a background in naturopathy, we aim to help organizations foster a healthy corporate environment in order to boost productivity and morale.
During these unprecedented times, investing in wellness programs is more important than ever to ensure that employees stay connected and motivated at work. We can assist your company and your employees by providing our expertise to introduce healthy practices that would protect and enhance the well-being of all employees.
If you would like to learn more about how our team can help your company, consider contacting us to find out more. We are happy to provide you with guidelines and approaches to support the wellbeing of your team members through virtual seminars.