ADVICE

Surveys show just how important workplace wellness courses are during a pandemic

SOURCE: Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP
As people head back to work, companies should prioritise employee wellbeing and mental health.


By U2B Staff 

Read all stories


According to numerous studies and surveys, mental health is declining among employees and managers during the current COVID-19 pandemic, shining a spotlight on the need for workplace wellness.

In the US, a survey publushed in the Mental Health Index™ by Morneau Shepell, a leading provider of mental, physical, social and financial well-being HR solutions, found a declining trend when surveying 5,000 employees between May 29th and June 9th 2020.

According to the release, “The June report marked the third consecutive month with a negative mental health score, although the decline has leveled off. The findings show that even with parts of the country re-opening after nearly three months of lockdown, financial risk and feelings of isolation remain the top threats to American employees’ mental health.”

Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer, said, “As the United States continues to experience the impact of COVID-19, the shows the ongoing negative effect the pandemic is having on American employees’ quality of life and mental health.

“Although some people have returned to work and certain industries are experiencing upticks in operations, employers and employees alike remain uncertain and wary about future waves of closures that could hinder the economic recovery.”

YOU MIGHT LIKE

Poor mental health ultimately impacts a company’s overall productivity and performance, which is why employers need ensure that fostering employee well-being is at the top of their priority list.

Paula Allen, senior vice president of research, analytics and innovation, said, “While employers keep employee physical health and safety top-of-mind during this time, mental health also plays an equally prominent role in employee performance, which ultimately impacts the overall health and productivity of the organization.”

“How employees view their employer becomes their reality, and a negative view from the workforce can have a detrimental impact on the company’s brand and reputation. During uncertain times, employers and managers need to frequently communicate with their employees and provide the necessary tools to alleviate stress as much as possible to create a healthier work environment.”

Stress is another major factor when it comes to workplace wellness, as another study found that nearly one in four managers believe it’s extremely stressful to be a manager.

The study by ZenBusiness surveyed nearly 1,000 people currently employed in the U.S, a mix of managers and their subordinates, to see how well they understand one another.

According to the study, “Nearly half of managers with over 30 employees under their supervision reported severe stress at work. As expected, this stress impacted other areas of their lives: Moderately and severely stressed managers were less likely to feel satisfied with their job, salary, and even work-life balance than those who were only slightly stressed. ”

So what can employers do to reduce stress and promote a more positive environment in the office? Workplace wellness courses can provide employees with the tools to manage their state of mind and stress levels.

BurnAlong, a digital corporate wellness platform, connects users with one-on-one or group training sessions with hundreds of health and wellness providers, with classes ranging from traditional fitness to mindfulness and meditation to rehabilitation for medical conditions.

Daniel Freedman, the co-founder and co-CEO of BurnAlong, told Forbes, “That’s everything from parenting classes, arthritis, diabetes, adaptive workouts for people with disabilities, sleep, anxiety—and this mirrors what you’re seeing with a heightened focus on mental health and loneliness.”

HR professionals can also look into certification programmes such as the digital course by The Corporate Health & Wellness Association, to help engage employees with strategies to boost productivity, drive down costs, and foster an ideal corporate culture.

A the University of New Brunswick, there are a number of online health, safety, and wellness courses to provide managers, supervisors, and employees with tools to manage stress and mental health issues, both personally and professionally, and to achieve optimal workplace wellness.

These include Fatigue Management, Managing Challenging Behaviours, and Navigating People-Driven Crisis.

On EdX, there is also a course by IIBMx entitled Crafting Realities: Work, Happiness, and Meaning, where participants are guided to proactively craft their own work experience, drawing upon positive psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and philosophy.

If your employees could use more mindfulness tips, employers can also check out the Mindfulness and Resilience to Stress at Work course by the University of Berkeley hosted on EdX, where participants will learn how stress can impact performance and well-being and work. They will also learn the differences between healthy and toxic stress.

YOU MIGHT LIKE