Mark Williams, co-founder of mind and body fitness app REVOOLA, discusses how businesses can play an important role in promoting staff wellbeing during COVID-19
The benefits of exercise on our physical and mental health are widely recognised. Being active not only helps control weight and reduces heart disease risk, but also improves mental health and mood. The positive effects of being mentally and physically fit gives us a sense of purpose, sharpens our thinking, and makes us more productive and happier – both at home and at work.
Yet the need to separate ourselves from others to stop the spread of coronavirus is having a direct impact on our activity levels. Being homebound is inherently making people more sedentary – our daily norms and pace of life have changed dramatically, routines have been thrown out of the window – we are inevitability less active because we are walking around less than we would normally. We are seeing a steep rise in the number of people who are experiencing anxiety for the first time too.
With many employees adapting to their new socially distant work environment, the need for organisations to look after their staff’s mental and physical fitness while working from home is paramount. Helping employees stay mentally and physically fit is a very tangible and crucial way businesses can support their employees during these unsettling times. Employers can support their staff’s wellbeing by:
- Showing empathy, care, kindness and support. Check-in on your staff regularly, ideally via a direct, interactive connection (a phone or video call) rather than just by email. Ask them how they are, how they are feeling, show you care. Try and build a sense of community, belonging and connectivity during this period of isolation – we’re all in this together.
- Understanding and accept that your workforce will not be able to be as productive as they usually are. For many, home has become a pressure cooker with several people sharing the same space. Many staff will be juggling work alongside looking after children, elderly family members or vulnerable neighbours. Offer flexibility around their working hours and expected delivery.
- Focusing on the positives that this enforced working environment brings. Not having to commute to work means some staff may have a bit more leisure time. Encourage them to make the most of this, whether that’s getting up a bit later, reading a book, a more leisurely breakfast or fitting in a run, walk or fitness class at the start or end of the working day.
- Many workers are struggling with insomnia, lack of concentration and focus. Motivate staff to take control by establishing new routines, setting targets and goals wherever possible to aid a sense of purpose and achievement.
- Suggesting that staff have a specific time when their working day starts and ends. It’s important people still have a sense of getting away from the office mentally, even if it’s no longer possible physically. Downtime is crucial.
- Encouraging employees to keep fit mentally and physically every day – this will have an uplifting effect on their wellbeing, give a sense of achievement and boost productivity. REVOOLA offers 30-day free access to instructor-led mindfulness activities and body fitness classes so employees can schedule classes with colleagues and exercise together in real-time giving a sense of community and motivation.
Many employees are feeling overwhelmed right now. We want to help businesses really take care of their staff and show kindness in this changed new reality we all find ourselves in. Wellbeing apps offer practical ways to address some of the anxieties and their implications that many workers are feeling. We want to help businesses build resilience in their workforce and help everyone emerge stronger physically and mentally from this crisis.
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