With COVID-19 spiralling the world into remote working, employee wellness is more important now than ever before. Technology already enables businesses to work remotely with little fuss. Now, however, it is time to use technology for employee wellness programmes.
First, we need to dissect what employee wellness is. According to Hannah Weinhold at Yellow Space, “Wellness covers physical and mental fitness. Over the past 30 or so years, it has grown as a concept in the workplace, focusing on helping employees influence their own health, quality of life, mental wellbeing and, consequently, their performance at work.” This helps businesses promote better attitudes within the business, leading to better productivity.
Before remote learning became a global trend, employee wellness programmes would have included fitness classes, meditation zones, mental health awareness talks and eye tests. Some businesses even have onsite counsellors for mental health.
With World 2.0, businesses need to adapt to tech tools that can build onto their current employee wellness programmes.
In the states, the statistic is for every dollar spent on an employee wellness program, a business can save up to $3,27 on health care costs. Locally, the Human Capital review estimates that absenteeism costs the economy R19,1 billion annually.
An employee wellness programme is a bottom-line-friendly business strategy.
Here are some tech tools that you can add to your current (or new) programme:
All Round Employee Wellness: Discovery Healthy Company App
Discovery Healthy Company focuses on 4 pillars of employee wellness:
- Physical wellbeing
- Emotional wellbeing
- Financial wellbeing
- Legal support
Discovery Healthy company makes this list because all of this is done via the Discovery Healthy Company App. Employees fill in surveys on the app and based on their results, a professional will reach out to these employees with suggestions to improve their overall wellness.
The programme also comes with a confidential live chat if needed.
This is a paid for service (price is dependent on the company itself) but it does cover the basics of what a business needs from a wellness perspective.
Using Data to Drive Wellness: ICAS
At Turrito Networks and Dial a Nerd, we use a service called ICAS. Using employee data ICAS can provide clear recommendations to prevent psychosocial risks. The service comes with an online portal for all employees called e-care which provides health and wellness information tailored to employee needs. The ICAS on the go app, which I use frequently, gives employees quick access to important information and contacts to reach out to. With their data mining, ICAS reports proactively to advise businesses of risk factors to their workforce whilst still enabling the wellness of staff.
ICAS is a paid-for service and the cost depends on the size of each business as well as the services chosen in each package.
Meditation and Wellness: The key to a mindful workforce
Burnout was recently declared a mental disease and meditation has been proven to benefit the workplace. Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that meditation programmes led to changes in brain regions involving learning and working memory capacity. As a regular meditator, I would recommend the following applications for your staff:
- Headspace for Work – anyone can access the app for free. To enable it organization-wide, you will need to contact Headspace as it will come at a fee.
- Calm – Calm is free for businesses for up to 100 people, It does not include all their premium meditations, but it is a great place to start teaching your team to meditate.
- Ten Percent – This is my favourite application on my phone right now. Not only do they give great guided meditations, but the app is also full of mindfulness guides and videos to help you on your journey to being “ten percent happier”. For teams, the app is $10,42 per user per month.
Physical Exercise and Wellness: Keep staff fit, healthy and happy
Studies continue to support that exercise at any age provides multiple benefits even beyond weight control and weight loss, From preventing osteoporosis to relieving stress and promoting heart health, physical exercise and wellness is essential .
By promoting physical exercise in your wellness programme, you can keep employees healthy and, hopefully, stress-free. An application I recommend you implement is Down Dog. Down Dog started out as a Yoga App and has expanded to include HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Barre and prenatal yoga (a great benefit for expecting employees). You will need to contact them for their business options but if you sign up with your company email, anyone else with that email address will have free access to the app until 1 June.
Keeping Staff Connected and Promoting Wellness: Microsoft Teams
When Turrito and Dial a Nerd employees needed to work remotely, we empowered our employees to stay connected with Microsoft Teams. We used Teams to help employees feel like they were not losing out when working away from the office.
Before the mass move to remote work, we could never have imagined missing long commutes or the many in-office meetings. We took casual coffee chats and endless conversational opportunities for granted.
Your business can create dedicated channels on Teams on wellness with nutrition, fitness, mindfulness and similar content readily available to staff. Furthermore, Teams is adding wellness-specific features onto its platform to give employees quick access to self-improvement and wellness help.
Employee wellness is more than just subscribing to one aspect of wellness. Make sure your programme benefits all employees as well as your business values. Having a solid employee wellness programme not only ensures your staff are looked after. It impacts the success of your business.