Rising late (at least just a bit later). No commute. Comfy clothes all day, every day. Oh, the joys of working from home … What started as a temporary leave from the office has transitioned into a complete workforce revolution. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, many employees around the world have set up a home office. Although it might be challenging to work with children, pets and partners around, working from home has numerous benefits. Still, there’s one thing you cannot promote in a home office: workplace wellness. Or can you?
Remote work has indeed been on the rise in 2020. At the peak, 62% of employed US adults worked part-time or full-time from home. Nevertheless, now that remote working has gone from privilege to necessity due to the coronavirus crisis, burnout is hitting an all time high. Working from home doesn’t mean working all the time, though sometimes it might feel that way. Boundaries between work and private life can easily fade. This state of mind can cause the influx of burned-out employees that affects the overall health of workforces – and, consequently, business productivity.
If you’re under the impression burnout just means being drained from your job, think again. Burnout is known to cause a myriad of mental and physical conditions: heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, a weakened immune system, and even death. It may well be argued that practicing workplace wellness (wherever your workplace is located) and establishing a healthy work from home lifestyle could keep your mind and body safe. But how do you promote workplace wellness when the workplace is, in fact, mainly a place to live?
Some employers offer office materials for employees’ home offices or make arrangements that provide a tax benefit for employees who set up a healthful home office. These are all great measures to promote physical health. But improving mental health requires a different approach.
In stressful times like these, employees must look after themselves. They also need their employer to support them in their efforts to stay healthy physically and mentally. When working from home, employees might feel the pressure to keep working and show that they are performing well. They might think that taking a short break or time off is frowned upon or even jeopardizes their jobs in these uncertain times. Hence, employers should be transparent about leave policies and include taking breaks as part of the organization’s culture.
Workplace wellness does not just encompass going on leave to disconnect when you log too many hours at work. Stimulate your employees to take a coffee break or stretch their legs at regular intervals during their working day. Remind them to take a break from work periodically. Employees may try to save some of their leave days for later – when they can take the vacation abroad they hoped for. However, downtime is not just a ‘nice to have’; it is essential. You cannot have sustained periods of stress without burnout unless you find a method to detach and a way to recover. Taking a few days off every couple of months is necessary to reset and go back to work refreshed.
Pro-active communication helps employers to promote workplace wellness. Especially when employees are working remotely, solutions like a corporate wallpaper or company app are great ways to remind employees to look after themselves and give them tips on how to improve their own workplace wellness. You can even send out push notifications at fixed times to remind everyone to take a break. And by promoting this as a company, you’ll reassure your coworkers that it is okay to take a coffee break, stretch those legs, or take a few days off. This knowledge alone might just relief some stress.
Looking for ways to promote workplace wellness within your organization? Download our free infographic with 10 tips to start promoting workplace wellness right now. Or contact our consultants to learn how Netpresenter can help you improve workplace wellness.