Wellness in the Workplace: Illuminate

From navigating a global pandemic to witnessing a string of ongoing layoffs across the nation, a lot has changed for us at work. Employees and employers are feeling new waves of burnout and pressure. While these complex realities may continue to evolve, there is one factor that must remain a priority in the workplace: a focus on total well-being.

Simply put, employees are expecting employers to look after them in new and unique ways. In order to prioritize well-being and optimize performance, it has become critical for the workplace to create space for empathy and become more aware of the essential and nonessential needs of employees. Here are a few ways to get started:

Define Your Hybrid Model

According to data provided by LinkedIn, hybrid jobs made up less than 20% of the jobs posted last year but received 50% of applications across all industries, and this number is only growing. If your company is still trying to “navigate” your hybrid strategy, 2023 is the time to solidify this approach. There is no question that employees are craving a sense of community among their colleagues. 

Be clear about what Hybrid means to your company. To do this successfully, actively inform employees what they can expect to experience when in-office.  Highlighting factors such as available resources, amenities, or when a member of leadership is in town helps maintain an open and active dialogue about hybrid opportunities and flexibility. A hybrid model responds to this and offers a sense of flexibility toward the wellness needs of employees.

Create a Purpose-Driven Environment

According to a recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 90% of employed adults (full-time or part-time) shared that they are newly experiencing mental health challenges and fatigue. While offering coverage for therapy, self-guided meditation and other wellness resources are essential components, becoming a giving workplace can improve the well-being and engagement of employees. Offering volunteer opportunities or charity options has proven to boost employee satisfaction in the workplace.  

Managers Can Take a Creative Approach to Wellness

According to the Harvard Business Review, 60% of hybrid employees say their manager is “their most direct connection to company culture.” This means instead of expecting HR to create and guide the company culture, managers and employees can play an impactful role in shaping culture and dialogue. A lack of interpersonal and thoughtful communication is often the missing link keeping an employee – or a company as a whole – from reaching their full potential. Start introducing softer layers of conversation. It is essential for managers to ask “how are you doing today?” before jumping into work jargon. Beyond this, routinely reflect on whether employees are happy in the workplace and act on it.

Interior Design for Community & Collaboration

As part of this wellness focus, office design must work to establish a level of equity within the workplace and offer an invigorating environment. Are there areas in your office where people can feel inspired? Can teams comfortably huddle or easily move into a space where a group can present materials? Creating an environment that is accessible and accommodating towards fortuitous encounters promotes well-being in the workplace. 

Now is the time to prioritize the mental health of our employees. In 2023, thoughtful elevation to the employee experience will be key. Employers must dive deeper into authentic communication styles and craft more personalized workplace solutions. Tailored professional development, upskilling based on interests, supporting individual hobbies, and transparency are key ways to demonstrate you are thinking about workers as individuals and not just the roles they occupy. Organizations should aspire to build a thriving workforce centered around a commitment to well-being. 

After 20 years of business, here at Direct Agents, we are just getting started.