Boost Employee Productivity by Respecting Physical and Mental Wellbeing

physical and mental wellbeing

The pandemic has caused changes in so many areas, including the way we work. Without warning, millions of Americans found themselves working remotely, became teachers at home, and were isolated from colleagues and friends. The isolation and lack of camaraderie affected people differently. So, as employers aim to reopen offices, how can they keep employees productive while also respecting their physical and mental wellbeing?

What challenges are employers facing in keeping employees productive?

As we emerge from the pandemic, employers have a monumental task on their hands. Figuring out whether or not to bring employees back to the office is no small decision.

Some business owners and managers appreciate working face-to-face with their employees and are eager to be back in the office with them. They often feel that working in the same space promotes creativity and collaboration. In the case of extroverts who enjoy the energy of others, this may be especially true. However, returning to the workplace may cause increased anxiety in more introverted people. These employees tend to prefer quiet workspaces and may work more productively in the solitude of their own homes.

Managers who show authentic concern and respect for how their employees work best, and take bold steps to help them produce their best work, have a unique opportunity to rebuild their teams to be even better than before.

How can employers respect employees’ physical and mental wellbeing in rebuilding their teams?

First and foremost, employers need to hear and listen to the needs of employees. These are two very different skills. Hearing is a passive practice, and listening is an active one. The most successful employers will be those who ask their employees about their needs, and then actively listen to what they have to say.

The way many employees approach work has substantially changed. Those who have been working from home may not be coming back as the same workers they were when they left. And they may not return to their “old” ways for a while, if ever. The situation may warrant one-on-one discussions to ensure comfort in talking about individual needs and challenges. Employers who listen carefully to employees will be better prepared to rebuild their teams.

What specifically can employers do to support employees they are bringing back?

Workplace benefits strategies are changing in response to the need to help employees with more than just checkups and sick visits. The benefits companies offer can give employees the foundational support they need to return to the new, post-pandemic normal.

Employers should think about providing an array of benefits they may not have previously considered. As we emerge from the pandemic, some of the benefit options receiving the most attention include:

  • Wellbeing programs with non-medical benefits to provide employees with stress management and preventative health benefits
  • Employee Assistance Programs that focus on both physical and mental telehealth to make it easier for employees to take care of themselves
  • Student Loan Repayment Assistance to help relieve the stress experienced by employees who are struggling with debt so they can better focus on their work
  • Emergency Savings Accounts to help workers (especially younger ones) who were rocked by the financial consequences of an unforeseen pandemic emergency
  • Lifestyle Spending Accounts to provide employees with assistance for wellness, financial planning, charitable involvement, pet care, dependent care, housing, travel, entertainment and more

In addition, for those employees struggling with more severe social anxieties related to returning to the workplace, benefits such as mental health coverage are crucial. If you offer a Consumer-Directed Healthcare (CDH) account in your benefits package, many behavioral health services may be covered. Learn more here.

And finally, for employees who are still concerned about virus transmissions, employers can elect to continue providing personal protective equipment, such as disposable masks, hand sanitizers and regular office cleanings with disinfectant products.

These are just a few ideas to help employers boost employee productivity by respecting their physical and mental wellbeing. For more information on benefits that can make the transition back into the office easier, please speak with a third-party administrator (TPA), benefits broker, or your HR professional.

DataPath, Inc is a leading provider of cloud-based technology solutions for FSA and HSA account administration.

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