There’s a lot of talk about “Covid fatigue” these days. Perhaps you’re seeing signs of it in your employees and colleagues, and maybe even yourself. Now several months into this global pandemic, most workplaces have moved beyond the adrenaline/shock of it all and further into the question of “when will we go back to normal?”
Weariness about working from home, or in a greatly limited work environment, may be coming through more prominently. After all, many employees are juggling their own workload along with family priorities, all while dealing with disruption, uncertainty, and trying to maintain some sense of work-life balance. Employees may be feeling more stretched with competing priorities and more isolated than ever, even while virtually interacting with co-workers. Challenges abound, but what these times are also revealing is just how resilient we really are.
As Psychology Today defines it, “Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals.”
There is some debate about whether resilience is innate capacity or a learned set of competencies. Regardless of how it originates, we can always become better resourced and skilled in this capacity over the course of our lives.
Resilience is not only about our ability to bounce back once the difficult period is over. In fact, perhaps the most skillful approach is to frame it as an ongoing practice, the effects of which are cumulative. We don’t have to wait until we’ve become totally depleted to start filling our cup again.
What can resilience look like virtual workplaces and how can you foster it in your employees?
The balance and consistency that workplace wellness programs advocate for can play a major role in supporting your employees through this time. Here are a few ideas, keeping in mind the 8 dimensions of wellness.
Encourage employees to get moving.
Exercise has long been proven to benefit our physical health and wellness but getting moving, for even 30 minutes a day, can also play an important role in our mental health and emotional resilience by reducing stress on our body, mind and spirit. Advocate for employees to build in frequent movement breaks to shift their energy and counter the effects of sitting.
Look to your corporate wellness program provider to help organize even more creative outlets for movement, such as a weekly HIIT or Zumba class, or, for a more grounded approach, something slow and steady like hatha or yin yoga. Making movement “cool” and part of your culture is key to boosting wellness program engagement, even in a virtual setting.
Prioritize and advocate for work-life balance.
Working from home has posed big challenges for some employees, especially those who are juggling family priorities and in-home disruptions on top of all the global uncertainty we face. Mental health has of course been a huge topic of discussion this past year as well. 22-35% of employees who participated in a SHRM survey earlier this year said they were experiencing symptoms of depression and 40% admitted to feeling burned out. These issues have been present since prior to Covid, and the numbers only continue to rise.
Check in with employees on a regular basis, perhaps more than you might in usual times. Normalize conversations about mental-emotional well-being, encourage employees to take a mental health day if they need to, and create opportunities for teams to come together virtually to help lift their spirits while acknowledging the challenges of the moment.
Create a culture of team-building at work.
Remote employees might be hyper-connected through virtual means – always available via video call, email, chat, or text — but they may also be feeling more stretched with competing priorities and more isolated, even while virtually interacting with co-workers. Creating opportunities for employees to come together and do something fun and community-oriented can help them reduce stress, connect around common interests, and recognize one another’s humanness.
Consider setting up a Monday morning virtual meditation session to help your team begin each week on a lighter, more connected-feeling note, or schedule a fun, interactive cooking class on a Friday afternoon to help employees transition out of their work week.
Build learning opportunities that support employees’ current needs into your company’s weekly agenda.
One-time learning opportunities or wellness events can make a special perk for employees whose socially-distant work lives are starting to feel a little monotonous. Think about it — who isn’t motivated by a little reward here and there in life?! Having new and interesting things to look forward to can help us cope when feelings of stress and worry about the future arise.
Have employees facing distractions at home that are affecting their time management? Schedule a lunch and learn that provides skills to help them boost their productivity. Have team members who are struggling with the ergonomics of their home office? Offer monthly yoga workshops that include information on anatomy and practical exercises to reduce pain.
A sense of engagement with topics of interest can help boost employees’ sense of purpose and keep them moving forward on a steady trajectory. Survey your team, see what’s trending, and deliver based on that!
Urban Balance is the premiere provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services in Portland, Oregon. We deliver yoga, Pilates, meditation, massage, nutrition and learning opportunities to the office environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.
We now offer many of these services online! Check out our catalog of Virtual Wellness Services here.
If your company is ready to step up its corporate wellness programming, contact us today to learn how Urban Balance can support your employees and wellness goals!