Support Your Employees During Social Wellness Month (and COVID-19)
July is Social Wellness Month. Human beings are social creatures built to interact, and most of us desire connections with others. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “positive social habits can help you build support systems and stay healthier mentally and physically.” In addition, the Mayo Clinic says that strong social support can reduce the risk of significant health problems including depression, high blood pressure and unhealthy body mass index (BMI).
Social wellness during COVID-19
While the evidence is clear, the current environment makes it challenging for employers to help build team connections. But even if it’s virtually, make sure you continue to make time. Working remotely and not seeing coworkers face-to-face can make your employees feel both disconnected and disengaged. Encourage employees to incorporate more interactive forms of communication such as video chats and phone calls, rather than just relying on email.
Regular staff meetings, whether a team, department, or the entire organization, are always encouraged. These meetings keep employees updated on what’s going on while also reinforcing the company mission, values and purpose. They are also a great opportunity to celebrate staff achievements and contributions and share customer feedback and success stories. Keep these going, even virtually.
Team wellness challenges are always a great way to get employees to come together as a team to compete while also encouraging a healthier lifestyle. These challenges can still happen virtually, with an honor system in place, of course!
Sharing a meal such as a team breakfast or lunch is always a great opportunity for social interaction. While healthy potlucks or in-person lunches cannot happen now, having a team lunch or happy hour virtually can be an option.
Overall, enhancing social connections can also enhance your workplace wellness programs. For more recommended reading, check out our blog series on low-cost workplace wellness strategies for implementing the following programs:
- General health education
- Tobacco cessation
- Nutrition, healthy eating and portion control
- Physical activity and weight management
- Stress management