The coronavirus pandemic upended the corporate world in unimaginable waves as it spread across the globe in the last two years; businesses were shuttered and in-person events and meetings were canceled. In no time, employers began to leverage digital spaces, including Zoom, to hold their conferences, meetings, and other events. But with business activities slowly returning to the worksite, HR leaders are re-inventing workplace wellness, infusing wellness into work.
The pandemic shifted the paradigm for businesses in 2021, as employees began to take drastic decisions regarding their jobs; a huge wave of massive resignations hit the corporate world with millions of workers quitting their jobs on account of poor health and safety protocols and a work culture that places them on the back burner.
Workers have now placed a premium on their own health and safety, given the uptick in hospitalizations and deaths resulting from new variants and the higher disease and death predilection among those wih chronic diseases. Employees now want to see concrete strategies in place to protect their health and safety or they’ll find another employer to work for. One way HR leaders are ensuring this is to incorporate wellness strategies into daily work routines.
Get People Moving
“Meeting and moving in nature is the most productive and creative way to exchange ideas and generate insights. The reason? It enhances our physical and mental wellbeing,” says nature-evangelist Thierry Malleret
Sitting, they say, is the new “smoking,” as it is a risk factor for several chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes? Not only that, but it also stifles mental wellbeing, comprehension, and creative thinking. So why keep your employees seated for hours on end, and seat even more in your in-person or virtual meetings?
Get your employees moving by opting for short walking meetings or taking breaks where workers will actively move about the room or engage in some gym sessions or mindfulness exercises, including yoga, pilates, and Tai.
The 2020 Global Wellness Summit was one event that typified what wellness should look like in meetings. The organizers redesigned the event space with natural wellness zones that allowed delegates to opt to participate in the event while balancing on a stability ball or pedaling on a recumbent bike.
Outside meetings, you could also make physical activity more fun and engaging by hosting a dance party, going hiking or biking in the area, or even starting a race contest! This not only promotes employee health and wellbeing but also drives engagement in the workplace.
Regardless of the calls for people to keep moving in their offices to improve health and wellbeing, people can not walk all day long. Therefore, HR leaders need to get creative with how people sit in meetings.
Offer seating styles with creative arrangements and let attendees choose which they are comfortable with. You may also need to get creative with standing desks, couches, bean bags, and yoga balls, which keep workers seated but still active.
Even in office settings, offer seating designs that incorporate the wellness factor, with a layout that allows collaboration and interaction among employees and also keeps each employee less distracted. The number one rule to keep in mind, therefore, is flexibility.
In all your seating redesigns, however, ensure to keep ergonomics in mind. Poor sitting conditions increase the risk of musculoskeletal problems that may impair productivity and engagement over time. You want to make sure attendees are not slouching on their chairs while taking notes or enduring very little legroom for small stretches.
Stay Close to Nature
Where possible, bring some of your meetings outside or under as much natural lighting as possible. You could get creative by using outdoor lounges for your small meetings or using the space around firepits for your chat sessions. Nothing stops you from holding departmental or unit meetings among the trees in your workplace. These settings not only improve engagement, but they are also perfect for infusing mental and physical wellness into meetings
If you can not take your meetings outside, you can bring nature in with you. Use plants, water features, and natural materials, including bamboo and stones, that give your indoor meeting area a natural feel. These are just right to get your attendees’ creative juices flowing.
Nature should also be your watchword in providing food to your attendees. Stay as close to nature as possible; offer fresh, unprocessed foods that are not only tasty but nutritious. These foods keep your attendees focused and mentally alert in such meetings and are packed with antioxidants that keep chronic diseases at bay in the long term.
Ditch the sodas and juice shots and offer your attendees water or coconut water to keep them well hydrated throughout the meeting.
GHA For Business
In reimagining your workplace policy around wellness initiatives, the GHA For Business is your go-to program. Packed with elements that border on improving employee productivity, wellbeing, and retention, GHA For Business provides a seal of validation that demonstrates to employees and prospective workers that employee safety and wellbeing is a top priority for your business.
GHA For Business was launched by Global Healthcare Accreditation, a leading accrediting organization that seeks to expand workplace offerings to improve productivity and maximize profitability. The program equips businesses with the right tools to navigate the current corporate crisis, arming them with strategies, protocols, and procedures to improve employee engagement and redefine their corporate culture.
It is time for employers to walk the talk, enough of seminars and conferences only taking about workplace wellness initiatives; employees now want to see it being actively integrated into all aspects of work, including those seminars and conferences, and this factor has become the key determinant of success for any business.