Staying healthy is more critical than ever during the pandemic. However, many people struggle with caring for their own wellbeing while dealing with all the stress and change that the pandemic brings. Thus, HR staff should take an active role in encouraging employees to prioritize their own wellness. Here, we’ll discuss how to support them in setting and maintaining healthy practices. Doing so can help them stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well.

A virtual health portal

Helping employees avoid or manage chronic health conditions like heart disease is more crucial now than ever. This will help them lower their vulnerability to COVID-19 while also benefiting their mental health. Help employees build up their immune system and overall health through access to an online health portal. These platforms can collect data from employees on their food choices, weight, exercise, and other life areas. Then, they provide advice on how to make healthy choices and help employees set exercise targets. They may also offer visits with health professionals like a nutritionist for one-on-one advice and coaching.

Access to mental health services

Make sure your company’s health plans provide substantial mental health support. A third of all Americans are dealing with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Look at the level of care your current plan provides to determine whether you need to update it for 2021.

The pandemic has brought on a rapid upsurge in demand for telemedicine services in mental health. Providers have rushed to meet the need for online therapy sessions. Offer a robust plan that gives employees virtual access to great therapists in their area.

A virtual exercise class subscription

During the pandemic, a virtual class is a great alternative to an in-person exercise class at a gym. Look for a subscription service that offers a broad range of classes, from spin to yoga. Or, give employees the option of choosing from different subscription services. Here’s just a sampling of the options out there:

  • Ballet
  • Pilates
  • High-intensity aerobics
  • Strength training
  • Dance cardio

Talk about the classes you’ve tried yourself—it might encourage others to join in!

Fitness equipment

Employees might not be able to safely go to the gym these days. However, giving them fitness equipment can help them stay in shape at home. Here are a few examples of fitness gear that can be extremely useful:

  • A steps-tracking device, which will encourage employees to walk or run more each day. 
  • Hand weights to use in aerobics or strength training.
  • New running shoes.
  • Home gym equipment.

Give employees a handful of options to choose from so they can pick the one that meets their needs best. Alternatively, give them a fitness budget. This will allow them to spend the money they receive on anything fitness-related, from a bike to climbing gear.

Employee surveys that assess their needs

Send out a wellbeing survey that employees can answer anonymously. This survey can check the pulse of your team to find out how everyone is doing. That can help you find out whether employees are struggling with particular issues like stress and isolation. Then, you can take the appropriate action.

Survey employees about what benefits would help them most, too. Give them options for different fitness products or service subscriptions, for example. That way, you can tailor your benefits to their needs. 

Promoting work/life balance

With the pandemic, it’s become harder for many people to set clear boundaries between work and home life. Check in with employees about how to set boundaries around work. Remind them not to check work messages in the evening. Work with them on goal-setting and time management to make sure they’re not perpetually feeling too swamped to leave work. You might even set a ritual with your team of saying goodbye in a quick video chat at the end of your workday. That will help you create a cultural norm of leaving work behind at the end of the day.

By taking these steps, you can tailor your wellness benefits to the needs of employees during COVID. And by keeping an open ear through surveys, you’ll know exactly what they need. Your team will appreciate how you’ve gone the extra mile for their wellbeing!