Tag Archives: Employee Wellbeing

Three Tips for How Corporations Can Invest in Employee Wellness Programs Amidst Recession Concerns and Budget Cuts

It’s been a challenging time in the workplace. With ongoing concerns about a looming recession, layoffs and budget cuts, employees and employers alike have been under a great deal of pressure and stress. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, 77% of workers surveyed expressed experiencing work-related stress. And while companies may naturally think it’s best to cut out employee wellness programs during these challenging economic times, it could be detrimental to employees and organizations as a whole.

As we’re nearing the end of the year, now is the time to prioritize employee wellbeing, mental health, physical health, happiness, connection and engagement. Times of uncertainty are when they need this type of support the most. Following are three tips for how corporations can invest in employee wellness programs amidst recession concerns and budget cuts. These tips don’t necessarily cost more money, but rather focus on shifting culture, budgets, priorities and approaches to work.

1. Focus on a company culture reboot:  Company culture is critical in creating a sense of wellbeing in the workplace. It truly starts from the top down. Encourage leaders and managers to have open lines of communication with their employees, including regular personal and professional check-ins with their direct reports. Asking employees how they’re feeling, how their families are doing and how things are going with their jobs and careers can make them feel respected and well-regarded.

Also, ensure managers are encouraging employees to take care of their physical and mental health through regular exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep and creating work-life balance boundaries in their schedule. Provide resources in the workplace to encourage these healthy behaviors and demonstrate them as leaders within the organization. Be sensitive to what time of day (or night) emails are being sent out, whether deadlines are realistic and feasible and discerning which meetings are necessary and productive and which ones aren’t.

Focus on team-building, strengths, connection and fun as well. The more employees can feel connected and that they’re a part of a mission bigger than themselves, the better. Allowing them to utilize their strengths to add value to their teams and ensuring they’re having fun, can make a positive impact as well.

2. Shift budgets to reflect priorities:  When a recession looms, companies immediately think about downsizing and cutting costs. However, not every cost can or needs to be completely cut if it can be redirected and invested towards long-term productivity, growth and strong performance. People are the biggest assets a company has, therefore, investing in them can go a long way in successful outcomes, even in the midst of challenging economic times. Therefore, think about where spend could be redirected into employee wellness programs. Are there administrative costs that aren’t serving the company well anymore? Are there partnerships that no longer make sense? Are certain marketing activities no longer generating an ROI?

These costs don’t necessarily have to be cut completely. Perhaps they can be reduced and some of those costs can also be shifted to employee needs. Ultimately, this is a customized decision that each organization will need to make. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to evaluate the bigger picture in addition to the specific financial details, and determine what will make the most sense.

Another option is to pilot a shift in budget into an employee wellness program to see how it works. Ideally test it out for three to six months and then go from there. Oftentimes, working with an employee wellness vendor can be more cost and time effective than doing it in-house because you don’t have to pay an annual salary and benefits and add more work to an employee’s already busy plate. For this reason, consider working with a wellness vendor to help create the most efficient and effective program possible, which is also designed to integrate with the company culture and address individualized employee needs.

While this may be a new approach for many organizations, it’s an important one to consider.

3. Integrate hybrid approaches to both work and wellness:  Now that the world has mostly taken a hybrid approach to life, also taking a hybrid approach to both work and wellness is a smart move. It’s important to embrace the new normal and figure out how best to operate within in. Part of placing employee wellbeing at the center of a hybrid approach is working with them to create flexible and reasonable working arrangements that help meet company goals, offer opportunities for collaboration, team-building and camaraderie and also consider the needs of employees.

Whether it’s meeting in person for executive summits, offsites, team meetings or other important events, being clear on when it’s most beneficial for employees to be physically present in the office or elsewhere is important. However, mandating employees be in the office for a certain number of hours each day and days per week can cause stress and anxiety and decrease productivity rather than increase it. Allowing employees to work remotely in ways that work best for them, while also still communicating when it’s most critical to be in person, can build trust and loyalty and bring out the best in them. They’ll be able to better balance their careers with their families, as well as their personal and professional commitments. This approach could also allow companies to reduce some of their commercial real estate costs in certain areas.

The same approach applies for wellness programs. Having a hybrid offering of both onsite and virtual fitness and yoga classes, as well as coaching and workshops on nutrition, mindfulness, mental health, financial wellness and more, can provide an opportunity to meet employees where they are. Taking this flexible approach could increase employee engagement, both in their work and the wellness programs offered to them. And having a mix of virtual and in-person wellness offerings could also provide companies with some cost savings, given virtual options may have fewer overhead costs. Leveraging AI technologies in the employee wellness arena can also help with cost efficiencies.

Overall, regardless of what’s happening in the economy, develop a culture built on hard work, productivity, trust, collaboration, communication, connection, wellbeing, fun and balance. Rethink budgets to support company priorities and take a hybrid approach to best meet employee and company needs.


Five Reasons Why Having an Employee Wellness Program Is Now Essential

According to The Future Workplace 2021 HR Sentiment survey and Forbes, 68% of HR leaders gave employee mental health and wellbeing a top priority rating. This survey also revealed that the corporate wellbeing market is expected to reach approximately $20.4 billion in the U.S.  and is predicted to reach $87.4 billion over the next four years.

Based on these findings, investing in an employee wellness program is now essential for most, if not all, organizations. Below are five important reasons why.

To read the full article in CEO World, click here.

Health and Wellness Predictions for 2022

With 2022 just days away and the pandemic continuing to impact us all, even after it first began nearly two years ago, many may wonder what’s in store for the health and wellness industry in the New Year.

Based on my experiences as a certified health, wellness and fitness entrepreneur and professional and working with various individual and organizational clients and business development partners in this space, here are my predictions below.

  • Mental health will continue to be prioritized: While people are being encouraged through their healthcare practitioners to manage their physical health through exercise and nutrition to protect their immune systems from Covid-19 and its variants, mental health has and will likely continue to have a major focus as well. According to a Gallup research study reported in the Washington Post, 60% of Americans feel daily stress and worry, and according to the American Psychological Association, 78% say Covid-19 has been a significant source of stress in their lives. Therefore, dealing with ongoing stress and anxiety will be extremely important. Tools like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, talking to family, friends and professionals and disconnecting from technology, could be very helpful in managing mental health.  And many healthcare facilities, schools, universities, companies and other types of organizations will likely continue to provide these resources.
  • Hybrid fitness is here to stay: As gyms and fitness studios have had to close, reopen and frequently change their protocols over the last two years, and the demand for livestream and on demand classes, wearable devices, mobile apps and home equipment has skyrocketed, hybrid fitness has gone from being a trendy buzzword and experiment to being the norm. Many consumers are mixing things up and taking in-person classes where appropriate and safe, and still continuing to leverage online technology and at-home options as well. The flexibility, convenience, mix of online and in-person communities and cost savings, have made hybrid fitness a surprise silver lining of the pandemic.  And both online platforms and in-person studios are working hard to provide the right mix to meet their customers’ needs.
  • Hybrid work is here to stay: Similarly to fitness, the workplace has undergone many changes as well. Many companies have transitioned to remote work models since the start of the pandemic and are still going strong. While some companies and other organizations have had employees come back to work, many are offering hybrid models now or will be in the future. While in-person collaboration is important for maintaining company culture and employee engagement, companies are realizing that employees prefer having flexibility and cutting down or cutting out commute times. They can also hire talent from any location and reduce real estate costs by having employees work remotely all the time or some of the time. Meeting employee needs and providing various options in these ever-changing times, is critical to retaining and hiring top talent and creating strong performance in the workplace.
  • Disease prevention and management will take on a new level of importance: With Covid-19 impacting the health of our global population, the threat to those who are immunocompromised, is even greater. Therefore, for those with pre-existing conditions or who are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more, disease prevention and management is even more important now. Keeping up with healthy lifestyle choices such as stress management, taking medications, healthy eating, staying active, prioritizing sleep and scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor, will be critical to staying healthy and helping to protect against Covid-19.
  • Organizations will continue to realize the importance of employee wellbeing: For many years, employee wellbeing has been a “nice-to-have” for many organizations. I’ve seen this first-hand, as I’ve worked in corporate wellness throughout the last several years. Budgets for corporate wellness initiatives have often been limited, and many organizations have prioritized other initiatives that can produce results that are easier to measure. However, the pandemic has created a shift in thinking. With so many employees experiencing high stress, burnout, a lack of work-life balance, anxiety and depression due to the uncertainty of these times, leaders will need to continue prioritizing the health, wellbeing and happiness of their workforce. They’ll have to consider the whole person and the many dimensions to their lives, which could serve them well personally and professionally.

While time will tell what 2022 will bring in the health and wellness industry, the best thing each of us can do is find the tools, support and resources to take care of our own health and wellbeing to not only survive, but thrive in the New Year!