After a year like no other, we’ve all been reminded of the necessity of looking after our staff. With remote working the new normal and increasing levels of business and personal uncertainty, there’s never been a greater need for personalised employee wellness solutions that address your employee’s real needs. Tick-the-box wellbeing activities simply won’t cut it anymore with an Australian report finding almost four in five Aussies suffered burnout in 2020. Let’s explore the big headwinds in 2021 and what should be on your workplace wellness agenda.

Not just physical health alone

While many traditional workplace wellbeing programs have focused on improving physical health parameters, using health checks like blood pressure and body fat measurements, any wellbeing program in 2021 will have to encompass measures of mental wellbeing as well. Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows there was an over 15% increase in Australians accessing mental health helplines between March and September 2020. While an EAP service may be helpful for your staff, other creative ways of engaging staff with their mental health may be a Food and Mood webinar that explains to them the relationship between what they eat and their mental health. Or it might simply be organising regular staff-to-staff catch-ups where employees feel they can talk about their worries and be listened to.

Remote wellness activities

While some workplaces in Australia are almost back at full capacity, remote work is here to stay with staff enjoying working flexible weeks - a few days at home with a few days in the office. Thus, on-site wellness activities are unlikely to be inclusive of all staff. While virtual happy hours have run their course, webinars and telehealth services will continue to surge in popularity as these allow all staff in all locations to join in. Employers will also need to find ways to replace the traditional in-person wellness services provided, like healthy snacks, delivered lunches and yoga classes - some ideas are providing employees a subscription to online fitness classes, running virtual cooking demonstrations or sending out healthy snack boxes to their homes.

Safe workplaces

While safety used to encompass avoiding workplace accidents and injury, workplace safety in 2021 has taken on a whole new meaning. In 2021, it’s all about ensuring your workplace has a COVID-safe plan and a clear protocol for scenarios like a worker becoming infected with COVID. Moreso, it’s important to communicate these plans to staff to ensure they feel comfortable that their return to the office is safe and the correct precautions are in place should an infection occur. The vaccine on the horizon also poses difficult questions for employers about safety - while experts say employers can request their staff take a vaccination in order to return to the office, this may not sit well with employees and we’ll no doubt see much debate about this before the vaccine becomes widely available. With the volume of research about diet and immunity, a creative way to engage staff in immunity and safety might be to run a Food and Immunity webinar that empowers them to make simple choices to support a strong immune system.

Connection

While many employees have reported loving the flexibility of remote work, there’s no doubt most miss the connection of the workplace. It’s the small things like a colleague making you a cup of tea, the office birthday cake and having someone to vent to about the little things. These things are tricky to replicate virtually so you might encourage your staff to meet up with fellow colleagues in their local area for a walk or coffee if safe to do so, or pairing staff up for virtual fortnightly catch-ups. Lead by example and keep workplace social channels alive, like sharing articles or a highlight from your weekend on your channels.

At The Good Nutrition Co, we’re experts in providing workplace nutrition services for workplaces big and small - remotely or on-site. Get in touch to have a chat about how we can provide tailored or off-the-shelf solutions for your staff. Email us: admin@goodnutritionco.com