Many of us have been working from home since the start of the pandemic, so it’s only natural that your staff may be feeling a little daunted by the prospect of returning to the office.
After months of social distancing, we have become hyper aware of the people we interact with, the surfaces we touch and the places we go. This awareness is bound to be even further amplified when we’re back in the confines of the office.
The pandemic has not only completely changed the way we think about our work, but it has also placed our wellness in the workplace under a microscope. As an employer, you’ll likely be establishing new precautions and procedures to keep your staff safe, such as socially distanced office floor plans, sanitiser stations, temperature checking and face mask requirements.
However, you might be wondering what other steps you can take to ensure your staff feel comfortable and safe when returning to the office. While a lot of your usual wellness programs and interactive team building activities may be on hold for now, there are some very simple things you can do to look after your staff in a post-Covid world.
Maintain strict hand hygiene
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your staff from illness is to maintain strict hand hygiene measures in the office. Ensure your staff have easy access to soap and sanitizer, and encourage them to both wash and sanitize their hands regularly throughout the day — especially after touching high-touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, door handles, printers and copiers, counter tops and vending machines.
Encourage socializing from a distance
Many people have felt isolated and lonely while working from home during the pandemic. Some business leaders have also noted that company culture has been hurt by remote working. So, one of the most positive aspects about bringing your staff back to the office will definitely be the return of comradery. Although workplace socialization is vital for building a strong and motivated team, it’s important to still maintain social distancing when in the office. While you and your staff might be looking forward to the collaboration and conversation, make sure you’re doing it six-feet apart!
Whether you love them or loathe them, virtual meetings look like they are here to stay in the post-Covid world. The pandemic forced us to take our work conversations and conferences online. When we return to the office, it’s likely that most face-to-face meetings will be conducted virtually to reduce or eliminate our close contact time with one another. If meetings must be held face-to-face, ensure that the seating in your conference room is set up to abide by social distancing rules.
Encourage staff to take regular breaks outside
Not only is getting fresh air and sunshine good for your staff’s mental health and overall wellness, being outside also lowers the risk of infection of respiratory illnesses. Encourage your staff to take regular breaks outside during the workday and avoid congregating in busy indoor areas, such as the lunchroom or cafeteria. When possible, you may also consider moving any smaller face-to-face meetings outdoors.
Boost your office’s immunity
One very effective way we can all support our overall health when returning to the office is by strengthening our immune system. A healthy, well-functioning immune system will arm your body with the best defence possible against unwanted illnesses.
To explore our top immunity boosting tips, check out these 5 simple ways to strengthen your immune system.
Encourage healthy eating within your office by supplying fresh fruit and vegetables for staff. Be sure to opt for fruits that are peeled before eating, such as oranges and bananas, and try to avoid using communal bowls or serve-yourself options. Individually packaged smoothies or cold pressed juices are also a great alternative.
Did you know you can also harness some extra immune-boosting power in your office coffee subscription? Beams Co.’s delicious plant-based coffee elixirs are loaded with antioxidants, adaptogens and nutrients that can help to support the immune health of your staff. Essentially, you can use your office coffee subscription as a wellness program! Try the immunity strengthening power of Reishi in our IMMUNITY elixir or boost your vitamin D intake with our Tremella-infused BEAUTY elixir.
Put a focus on mental health
The pandemic has taken a huge toll on both our mental and physical wellbeing. In fact, over 70% of workers have described the pandemic as the most stressful time in their career. With such a high level of collective stress, anxiety and uncertainty, it’s inevitable that these negative emotions will spill over into the workplace.
This is why it’s so important to encourage your staff to regularly check in with their mental health and ensure they have easy access to the right support when they need it. The pandemic has put a major spotlight on mental health in the workplace and employers are expected to significantly increase their employee assistance programs in this area.
Another simple wellness practice you can implement in your office is daily gratitude or meditation sessions. These are effective self-improvement activities which employees can do either individually or in small groups in a Covid-safe, socially distanced manner. Both gratitude and meditation have been proven to boost mental wellness, reduce stress and build more resilient and positive mindsets.
Encourage your employees to talk to you
If your employees are feeling fearful or anxious about working in the office, this can have a major impact on staff productivity, motivation and overall mental health. One of the easiest ways to ease your employees’ concerns about returning to the office is to encourage them to talk to you.
Be open and upfront about the new precautions you have established in the workplace to ensure employee health and safety. You may also consider holding a virtual meeting with staff to discuss the changes and encourage them to voice any concerns or questions they may have.
In our post-pandemic world, creating a positive, safe and comfortable environment in the office has never been more important. Our workplaces will continue to undergo many new changes and uncertainties still remain about what lies ahead. But implementing simple wellness strategies and practices within your office can have a huge impact on both the health and wellbeing of your staff and your company culture.