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How to Prioritize Employee Health During COVID-19: Creating a Self-Care Plan

COVID-19 has many employers concerned about the safety of themselves and their employees.

If a company stresses proper health practices, then the employees will follow suit. However, if it doesn’t prioritize healthy self-care, then it can be partially to blame.

The coronavirus isn’t the only thing threatening the health of their workers. Lack of self-care over these many weeks can lead to a significant drop in wellness.

Here are several facets that companies should be implementing in their self-care plan for their entire workforce.

1. Start a Wellness Committee

Employees can tell when a company goes the extra mile to ensure they’re happy and healthy. That’s especially important while they’re working from home.

This entire pandemic has stressed the need for people to educate themselves. They then need to purge themselves of any unhealthy habits. However, the harsh reality is that many people still aren’t making those changes.

In fact, the quarantine has caused employees to become unmotivated. Even the health buffs of the workplace are finding it extremely difficult to mix things up.

Employers need to provide all the resources and information that they can to a) inform their employees of how to live healthier and b) stress the need to do so.

One of the most clever ways to do that in-house is by having an HR member organize weekly health facts. In fact, starting a health and wellness committee can be beneficial for when life returns to normal.

This might include things such as diet facts, at-home recipes to try, techniques for cleaning a house, hand-washing techniques, at-home workouts, and much more.

The employees will appreciate all the hard work of the employer to educate them. They will be inspired to try a few tricks that they read from it.

2. Telehealth Services for Workers (for Free)

Some employers feel uncomfortable giving advice where they have none. In other words, they don’t want to give advice to workers about braving this pandemic if they don’t have any medical experience.

That’s certainly understandable. For those companies looking to provide more knowledge for their employees, they should invest more in telehealth services for their staff.

The telehealth services can offer a lending hand to all management and HR services that want to offer a responsive health line to their workers.

If a worker believes themselves to have a symptom or two of the COVID-19 virus, they can call the designated telehealth service and have an answer in moments.

When all of the dust settles on this pandemic, the teleservice will still prove a viable asset for the company. With the growing need for things such as virtual doctors and mental health hotlines, a telehealth program will be a worthwhile investment for years to come.

3. Encourage Self-Care

Employers will try their hardest to ensure the safety and well-being of their staff, but the bottom line is that there’s only one person that can force the employees to act upon the advice they’re given: themselves.

Because of that, it’s important to push the need for self-care to the entire staff. Every single day needs to be treated as an opportunity to check in on workers and prioritize healthy at-home work practices.

There are several things that employers can point to in order to ensure a healthy self-care practice for themselves and their staff.

Prioritizing Work-Life Balance

First is the need for employees to achieve a proper work-life balance. Having their workspace come into their homes can increase confusion as to when it’s acceptable to clock out for the night/weekend.

Employers need to help their staff with this by setting definitive lines on a) how many hours they’re allowing workers to collect each week and b) the hours they’re expected to be present for.

Setting the guidelines will give employees as much structure as possible in their workday, even if the setting has changed.

Promote Physical Health

As previously mentioned, there’s a growing need for workers to be educated on achieving their health goals while being secluded to the confines of their homes.

Many people have been given the impression that this quarantine will inevitably lead to weight gain. But the reality is that, with a proper diet and workout routine, they can actually lose weight.

This is a time for purging, not a time for pausing. If employers take the steps towards cutting out unhealthy habits, then the workers will follow suit.

Reinforcements for Mental Health

Having so many different people quarantined and away from reality is leading to an uprise in depression. 

The anxiety of their loved ones, the marketplace, worrying about when or how they’ll be paid, and their own jobs are causing a buildup of stress that they have no outlet for.

Some of those things are out of the employer’s hands, but they need to offer a lending hand however possible.

Trying to do things such as holding more Zoom or Skype calls can give employees the human interaction that they desperately need.

More importantly, it will help remind them that they’re not alone. That all their coworkers, managers, and executives are experiencing the same things, and that they always have someone to reach out to if they need help.

During this time, managers need to maintain an apathetic and transparent tone during business meetings. Checking in on the mental health of employees is always the top priority.

Emphasize the Importance of Self-Quarantining

As the leader, employers and management need to be emphasizing and stressing the importance of self-quarantining as much as possible.

Managers should be encouraging their workers to engage in different hobbies or outlets to take back control of their days. It will give them something to look forward to and take pride in.

There’s also room for employers to remind their staff of the importance of practicing social distancing with their friends and relatives as well. A simple phone call to each individual staff member will raise morale among the entire workforce.

4. Continue Personal Communication

It can be tempting for employers and management to use email and text messaging in order to keep up with the need for constant communication to meet demand.

However, employees need personal communication during this time. More importantly, they need to know that management is thinking about them and concerned for them.

While it might take a little extra time to do so, choosing to call each employee personally from time to time will provide more connections throughout the company.

Hearing someone’s voice and tone is especially important during this time. All sides will benefit from an uptick in phone calls and Skype sessions between coworkers.

5. Communicate the Need for Consistent Breaks

One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the chance to step away from the computer from time to time, if only for 5 minutes.

However, with the growing concern over job loss, an employee might feel an irrational push to stay at their desk.

It’s up to the management team to encourage employees to take consistent breaks and walk away from their desks. Taking a 5 to 10-minute break can help the employees to come back to their desks with more focus and drive to do the job right.

It’s also just as important to encourage employees to take time off if need be. Many employees are also trying to handle kids running around the house which can lead to an unhealthy buildup of stress.

In order to ensure the well-being of their mental health, employers need to make it known that days off are acceptable (and encouraged) in order to maintain a healthy balance.

In fact, certain employers can boost their morale by sending custom care packages to each employee’s house. It will let them know that the employer admires their staff and is wanting to protect them from this pandemic as much as possible.

6. Build a Constructive Self-Care Plan is Essential

The most important thing for employers is to set the guidelines of a self-care plan for their entire staff. It will help the workers to realize the importance of prioritizing their health and control what they can control.

Be sure to read this page on how an HR service package can be a tremendous help to companies during these trying times.

HR services can assist with payroll, outsourcing recruiting, and PEO. It serves as the budget-friendly solution to human resources that companies need.

For more inquiries, please begin by filling out an online request form and we’ll be happy to assist further.

Disclaimer: The information and resources provided herein are not a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not constitute legal advice or attempt to address the numerous factual issues that inevitably arise in any employment-related dispute. Although this information attempts to cover some major recent developments, it is not all-inclusive, and any recommendations are based upon HR best practices and procedures. We recommend you consult an attorney for legal guidance.

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