7 Tips to Encourage Employee Wellness at Home
It’s been more than a year since the start of the pandemic and the work-from-home option has become the new normal for most employees. But the prolonged negative impact this has caused on mental and physical health remains disconcerting.
An online survey conducted by a health benefit provider has revealed that 74% of WFH respondents feel less productive due to mental health issues, 84% believe that their mental health is now more important than ever before, and 40% of employers are concerned over the negative effects on mental health from the lack of social interaction among colleagues.
In a survey conducted among UK workers who made the WFH switch due to COVID-19, the findings were: 46% were doing less exercise, 39% experienced musculoskeletal problems, and 37% developed sleeping problems.
With the alarming rise of these health concerns, companies are now making the effort to include employee wellness as a regular part of the conversation. Here are seven recommendations that can help employees to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing while working from home.
1. Get into a Daily Routine
Sticking to a daily schedule will help you get organised and give you a sense of control. While it’s different from when you were working on-site, there are some patterns that you can still adapt to your WFH situation. Sleep and wake up on time, have your breakfast, shower, get dressed, then off to work. The time you saved from commuting can be allocated to exercising, meditating, or doing quick chores before you start working.
2. Designate your work area and set boundaries
Create a space where you can work comfortably and, if possible, with less exposure to distractions. While this can’t be avoided sometimes, you can try to manage them by setting boundaries with people you live with when you’re working. Share your schedule with them so they’ll be aware that you can’t be disturbed during your working hours.
If something needs your urgent attention at home, discuss it with your manager/colleagues and commit to make up for the time lost. Given the different dynamics of working from home, companies should also be flexible in dealing with these situations to help reduce the anxiety that employees feel of having to juggle work and home responsibilities.
3. Take a time-out
Your body and your mind need to take a step back from your work area. Schedule regular lunch breaks for 30 minutes to an hour and 5-to-10-minute screen breaks to focus on something other than work. This will significantly increase your productivity, improve your posture, relax your bunched-up muscles, prevent accidents due to lack of rest and focus, and rejuvenate your senses.
4. Stand up and move around
Doing simple exercises can improve flexibility and circulation, increase your energy level, lower blood pressure, and help reduce excess fat. It can also significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, naturally release feel-good hormones (dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin), and improve your sleep pattern.
Take a daily walk or run outdoors for some fresh air, but don’t forget to comply with safety precautions if you live in an area with COVID-19 restrictions. If you’re unable to get away from your workspace, you can take a break and do these short exercises.
5. Eat healthy and stay hydrated
Consuming food that’s high in salt or sugar can create unhealthy conditions that can affect your work performance. High blood pressure, weight gain, dehydration, risk of diabetes and heart disease, unhealthy energy-draining cycle – the list goes on.
Try eating food rich in vitamin C to strengthen your immunity. You can also make small adjustments such as choosing low sodium varieties and low or no sugar alternatives of your favourite food. And don’t forget to drink as much water as you can. Lack of hydration can lead to reduced energy levels and brain function.
6. Stay connected
While some WFH employees are able to focus more in their tasks, others struggle with feelings of isolation due to the lack of social interaction. When this happens, make an effort to reach out to your colleagues just to touch base on how they’re doing and to let them know how you’re feeling as well. Make sure that the lines of communication are open – whether by phone, email, or other online platforms.
7. Take it easy on yourself
Not everything will always go smoothly while you’re working from home. Don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes along the way. While it’s natural to feel bad or sorry for yourself, it’s also not healthy if you keep wallowing in misery over it. Own up to it, learn from it, then commit to do better next time.
When self-doubt creeps in, imagine how you would comfort a friend who’s in the same situation then do the same for yourself.
Talent sourcing consultancy in Vietnam
The Talent Consultants, a top recruitment agency in Ho Chi Minh City, understands the struggles that remote teams are going through. Check our resources for additional information on how employees can address their wellness issues. For managers, read our previous blog for tips on how to support your remote staff. To learn more about our expert recruitment services and workforce management in Vietnam, contact us on +84 28 7309 7991 or book a call here for more details.