Wellness at Work: What Does the Future Look Like?
Collaboration Takeaways

The Global Wellness Collaborations bring industry leaders together in meaningful dialogue to share ideas and best practices for navigating the COVID-19 crisis around a specific industry segment.

Topic: Wellness at Work: What Does the Future Look Like?
Date of Discussion: May 12, 2020
Countries/Regions Represented: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Russia, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, UK, US.

  • COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking one of the biggest business transformations in decades. It’s a health crisis, but for most companies, it’s also an incredible opportunity to transform.
  • It is forcing companies to rethink the way they do business and dust off policies for security, business continuity and remote workers.
  • It is also placing employee wellbeing at the center of their business model.
  • What we’re seeing is more of a long-term commitment by companies to engage their employees wherever they may be working. And hopefully, it’s a more caring view of their organization and everyone who works for them.
  • I think we are seeing a lot more inclusion and more of an emphasis on wellness at work.
  • We are working in collaboration with some senior clinicians and consultants from a hospital. Their premise was emphasizing contributions to help with facing external challenges.
  • What we’re seeing now is a deeper dive and interest in understanding individual declared needs for one’s wellbeing.
  • In collaborating with the woman’s health institute, we’re in the process of creating content for female employees and female members of staff that addresses particular life stages.
  • One of the ways to create a wellbeing driven organization is to introduce greater insight in terms of wellbeing program creation.
  • The two main messages that we’re sending out there are that safety and wellbeing are the highest priorities for our employees and our colleagues.
  • The decisions that our organization is making are driven by data.
  • In the future, I think that managers need to begin to upskill or develop their competencies to include more emotional intelligence. Flexibility and adaptability for people on their teams are essential.
  • It’s really about quality, total quality of life, and what that includes is human connection and social connection.
  • Remote work will become more common. I agree there’s no one-size-fits-all.
  • My belief is that organizations should begin to plan for customizing. For the individual, for local or global, and take into consideration culture.
  • Operationalizing wellness and wellbeing components have become enormously important.
  • Understanding the mental wellbeing of leaders managing large teams is also critical. We need to ensure leadership is building the right culture deep down.
  • Workplace wellness programs indeed now need to be integrated into the core business and HR strategy of organizations.
  • How do you ensure that people’s emotional wellbeing is accounted for?
  • What we’ve experienced over the last six weeks is that much of the red tape has been gotten rid of. The bureaucracy has been completely removed, decisions are happening much faster, and wellness programs are getting operationalized.
  • So, mental health, in general, is now something that people have woken up to.
  • For example, one major health plan in the Pacific Northwest, they would typically have taken an 18- to 24-month sales cycle to go through the entire vetting process. Now, from the first conversation to a signed contract was one month.
  • Before COVID-19, our company had about one to two telehealth visits a week. They’re now doing 600 telehealth visits in a day!
  • We are sending out surveys to ascertain how people are doing. If they’re not doing well, then we lead them to our EAP provider right away.
  • Tomorrow, I’m going to be doing a staycation—giving myself a vacation at home to reset myself.
  • We’ve been holding what I call workplace wellness cafes. This is where we’re actually reaching out to the black resource groups or the women of color and other marginalized groups to ask them what do you need and how can we help? We’ve created a safe space for them where we can increase psychological safety so that they can speak freely about what is going on in their lives.
  • They can say whatever they want to say so that they don’t feel like they’ll be penalized for it. There seems to be a hierarchy when it comes to emotions, and a lot of people of color, when we do express ourselves, there is a bias against that.
  • We have internally embraced the Global Wellness Institute’s The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease. The idea is a monthly celebration, and the catalyst is one word that is given to all participants each month. May’s word was “adapt,” and anyone can participate. It’s fun. Information is on the GWI website.
  • Let’s go into breakout rooms and come up with a list of practical ideas that people could incorporate to create a culture of wellness in their workplaces.
  • Emphasize trust, meditation, sleep and circadian rhythms at work.
  • Incorporate meditation, mindfulness training and healthy food seminars.
  • Provide juicers in pantries so people can bring in their ingredients and juice at work.
  • Start a wellness newsletter. Add movement breaks.
  • Have a psychologist on staff and focus on mental wellness.
  • Make impromptu counseling readily available.
  • Create an online confidential chatroom.
  • Someone in our group talked about not always thinking top-down, but think bottom-up—listen to people and ask them what they want.
  • Give people an opportunity to dream—to talk about their dreams and passions. That’s a great way to reconnect with the inner child.
  • My experience has been in educating people. I think this is a good time to put forth a concerted effort to help people understand how to stay healthy progressively.
  • We’ve been sending a lot of educational components: back to physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and social connectivity.
  • We’re doing a digital 5K to raise funds for an association, our professional association, and it’s really fun to see the engagement amongst the members, as well as raising money for our foundation.
  • Create a sleep wellness program.
  • Create wellness zones within companies so that you could go somewhere, and you could refresh. You could have music. You could have meditation, like a 15- to 20-minute de-stressing place to go.
  • Make sure people have the time during their workday to do these things.
  • Prompt people on their computers or phones every hour to do something and give them something to do and to make it fun if you’re going to do a meditation. Maybe it’s a dance meditation.
  • One day a week where you’re not connected to the world, you work on your work. Disconnect from your normal communications.
  • So, right now, we are looking at redesigning our physical work space. So, just the fact that we are designing our spaces and we’re having touch points in our office that relate to healthy wellbeing is very important.
  • Outdoor spaces now are more important than anything, maybe adding a mini labyrinth.
  • And right now, what we’re seeing is a lot of questions on material use and cleanliness related to COVID. It really has to do with sanitation, safety and social distancing.
  • And what do you do about sanitation in existing spaces? Cleaning schedules and the products that you’re cleaning with are very important.
  • There is conversation around the microbiome and how UV can be integrated. One device actually has a fan that circulates air. It is supposed to purify the air and kill viruses like COVID that might be airborne.
  • We’ve put tape with arrows on the floors so that some hallways are going to become one way. That way, everybody’s focusing the same way. They’re not passing each other in the hallways.
  • We’ve also changed our snack area in our snack rooms. Instead of having big jars that you would buy in bulk, we’ve done everything as individual snack-size wrappers, so there’s no cross-contamination there.
  • We’ve changed our soap to an antibacterial soap and installed hand sanitizers at various areas on walls so that people could just, you know, get it quickly. The doors are as you would see in any hospital or medical building, and we’ve also installed in our bullpen area plexiglass dividers like pods.
  • We are bringing more of the exterior to the interior, like plant walls and water fountains. We are working on increasing airflow and the amount of time the air changes.
  • Team building off-site budgets to be spent on wellness retreats (2–3 days).
  • Wellness mentors for leaders. Offer a “Silent Room” to center, meditate and grieve.
  • Forest bathing! Yes, a green space within the workplace would be great.
  • Links to share that received a lot of coverage:

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