5 Creative COVID-Proof Ways to Address Employee Wellbeing

Numerous companies are taking extra steps to support their employees’ mental and emotional wellbeing. Many are offering greater flexibility, providing access to counseling, increasing communication, etc. But some employers are going beyond standard options in creative ways. 

A recent survey examining how organizations are supporting employees’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing reveals some innovative initiatives. Below are five of the most unusual:

1. Virtual Grocery Tours

Pre-COVID-19, one company was having great success offering one-on-one nutrition consults with a dietitian. They didn’t want to lose that momentum, so they’re now offering employees virtual grocery store tours with a dietician. While walking through each section of the store, the dietician helps people make healthy choices based on the food pyramid and offers tips for reading labels, managing serving sizes, and planning healthy meals and snacks.

2. A Facebook Work Group That’s Not About Work

One company started a private Facebook group for their employees focused on entertainment. Called “Life After Work,” the first session featured an employee who’s also a musician. He performed for his colleagues, which was not only great exposure for him — it also was a terrific way for workers to connect with each other over something other than an Excel spreadsheet.

3. “Pet” Projects

One company is encouraging people to share photos of their pets. It’s a light-hearted strategy that quickly became an extremely popular way for people to stay socially connected, which is critical when working remotely. Updates from Sofie’s Schnauzer or Bob’s Bulldog can be a great virtual means of engagement!

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4. Weekend Warriors

Providing options for employees to take care of themselves or have fun outside of the workday is important. One company developed a “Weekend Warriors” program filled with a variety of outings employees could do over the weekend to support each other in making healthy lifestyle decisions. It includes various fun, healthy, and safe activities, like scavenger hunts, that emphasize community more than winning. Employees are encouraged to take photos as they engage in the activities and post them on social media under the #HealthySelfies hashtag. 

5. Virtual Summer Camp for Kids

As more and more parents shared the need for planned activities for their kids, one company decided to take a big step — create their own summer camp for employees’ children. The camp provides employees with a list of crafts, tasks, and outdoor activities for kids to participate in over the summer months. It’s a great way to keep kids busy and allow parents to get work done!

It’s up to every company to find ways to help ensure the wellbeing of their people. The pandemic has certainly introduced all sorts of limitations, but it can also spark new, imaginative ways to be resourceful. 

James Aranowski is senior director, program management and engagement at HealthFitness, where he is responsible for strategic relationships with HealthFitness accounts and for providing overall leadership for the HealthFitness associates serving clients. He specializes in large fitness, recreation and wellness management projects including corporate, hospital, and community programs.

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