COVID-19 puts spotlight on wellbeing efforts

For the last few years, data has shown that addressing employee wellbeing in the workplace made good business sense—and helped employees in the process. But with COVID-19 in the picture, the reasons for focusing on wellbeing are greater than ever.

“There are a lot of compelling business reasons for organizations to make commitments to workplace wellbeing,” Carol Morrison, senior research analyst at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), said during a recent webinar hosted by Human Resource Executive®. “We don’t need to look any further than what the last few months have shown us as to why it’s important for companies to make those commitments.”

Related: 5 things to know about wellbeing and COVID-19

A number of issues plague workers’ wellbeing: Always-on technologies fuel 24/7 work expectations and high levels of employee burnout and stress. Issues like obesity, diabetes, substance abuse, anxiety and depression are on the rise. Nearly half of Americans don’t have any savings. Many employees feel lonely and disconnected.

But the pandemic is compounding all those issues, making it all the more imperative to address all components of wellbeing, Morrison said. Those components include six core topics: physical, emotional/mental, community, career, financial and social/relational.

Listen to the webinar replay here.

And in addition to helping employees, wellness efforts make a big impact on employers, too.

According to i4cp research conducted before the pandemic, 86% of large organizations have some kind of wellbeing program in place. But high-performing organizations are more likely to emphasize all six elements of wellbeing. The whole-person approach is strongly correlated to better market performance, better talent retention, increased workplace productivity and higher levels of workforce wellbeing, she said.

“High performing [companies] are significantly [making bigger] efforts in all these areas of wellbeing,” Morrison said. “All of these [components] that you choose to add are going to be a help to support your organization’s performance and your employees’ wellbeing.”

Related: Strategies to manage coronavirus in the workplace

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