A staggering 56% of the American workforce have been working from home during the pandemic. But in 2021, many hope to return to the workplace.
More than ever, workplace health and wellness are a focal point for many companies as they welcome back employees. The responsibility of improving workplace health lies with both employers and employees.
To have an easy transition back to work and nurture a healthy and happy culture, you need to ensure your workplace is safe. Read on to learn the steps you need to take to improve employee health and wellness in 2021.
How Important Is Workplace Health and Wellness?
Health and wellness have always been important because a happy and healthy workforce leads to increased productivity and loyal employees.
But it’s not appropriate to separate physical health from mental wellness; good physical health has a positive impact on mental wellness, and vice versa.
In light of the pandemic, this is more obvious than ever. Employees are anxious about returning to work, and we must take all the necessary steps to make the process simple and safe.
In years to come, workplaces will be scrutinized for how they handled employees in the pandemic, and poor management will lead to low employee retention.
Nurture Employee Wellness
Ask employees what they need to feel more comfortable at work. Encourage feedback and accommodate requests wherever possible. If they aren’t feasible, explain clearly why you can’t do it at this time.
Employees are happy to talk to each other about what’s not working, but the feedback doesn’t always make it to management levels. You should encourage them to share and appoint staff representatives to be the voice of your employees.
Offer simple lifestyle perks, and you’ll see improvements to health and wellness at the workplace. These can include:
- Free fruit and snacks
- Healthy lifestyle vouchers
- Reduced prescription drugs
- Gym memberships
- Employee development programs
- Employee recognition schemes
- Wellness programs
- On-site massage
- Employee discounts and rewards
If you’re still not convinced, a recent study found that 48% of employees say workplace perks impact their decision when accepting a job offer. It’s time to stop focusing on salary and promote health and wellness at the workplace through other channels.
Improve Health and Safety
As safe as you think your workplace is, it could be safer. Don’t be caught out neglecting workplace health and safety because it’s a legal requirement.
Start by inspecting your workplace with an open mind. Check that all the equipment is up to standard, cables are tucked away, boxes are stacked safely, and there’s nothing on the floors that could trip someone up.
Appoint a health and safety officer that has the sole purpose of improving workplace health and safety. Consider bringing in a new employee with considerable experience in the field.
Make sure the officer maintains records and investigates any accidents. They should also keep an open dialogue with employees to discuss any potential or current hazards.
Next, make sure you educate all employees about how to improve their safety at work. Proper training is not a one-off process; it should be ongoing. All employees should have health and safety incorporated into their induction, and it should be a core element of CPD.
Evaluate all aspects of every job role, and consider where injury could occur. Train each employee individually on the best ways to protect themselves from hazards at work.
Finally, conduct regular fire and first aid training for employees, ensuring they are equipped to deal with emergencies in the most efficient way.
Being complacent about employee health and safety can lead to serious accidents, and you’ll be accountable if your processes are not compliant with regulations.
Extra Requirements During a Pandemic
Nurturing health and wellness can be a challenge for businesses; in 2021, we’re entering new territories to protect employees.
At this stage, we all know we need to be washing our hands and keeping a distance from others. Encourage this, but don’t make it a focal point as you risk losing employee engagement by appearing patronizing.
Instead, focus on logical steps you can take to reduce contact. Separate desks, stop hot-desking and mark out 2-meter spaces on the floors. Allocate basic cleaning (wiping down surfaces etc.) to a willing employee each day – make sure this is done hourly.
But as an employer, the most important thing you can do is ensuring the workplace is properly clean. It needs to be spotless and deep cleaned. The level of cleaning needed during a pandemic is not within the remit of standard cleaners, so you need to consider additional measures.
Consider hiring a certified janitorial company to deep clean your workplace and make it covid-secure. This shouldn’t be done as a one-off, as the danger of contracting Covid-19 is still present.
A spotless workplace will keep employees feeling safe and comfortable coming to work. It’s been a year, and they don’t want to feel scared anymore; taking these measures can make the best of a difficult situation.
Follow These Tips for a Happy and Healthy Workforce
Whether you’re an essential service that’s been operating throughout the pandemic or looking forward to welcoming employees back, a healthy workplace is paramount.
There are many ways you can improve workplace health and wellness. These include employee lifestyle perks, health and safety initiatives, and deep cleaning processes.
So what are you waiting for? Make your workplace Covid-19 secure today for happy, healthy employees.
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