Many business owners expected the COVID-19 pandemic to cause a shift in the workforce, but fewer predicted the impact it would have on workplace culture and employee expectations. Prior to COVID-19, most businesses were providing employees with traditional wellness programs that predominantly offered free gym memberships, miscellaneous professional development opportunities and a few other services that may seem tone deaf to today’s workforce.

When the corporate world went remote, employers began to reevaluate daily operations and employees were left rethinking what work-life balance meant in this “new normal.” This resulted in business owners tightening their budgets, quickly cutting frivolous expenses where they could, and the workforce petitioning for more flexible wellness benefits. Since reopening, this sentiment hasn’t changed. Employee expectations are now higher, and employers are being called to respond accordingly if they want longevity for their business.

Now, providing employees with wellness-based benefits that they can take advantage of however and wherever they desire should be a priority for all business owners. In fact, it’s proven almost unavoidable, with 94% of organizations expecting to expand virtual wellness offerings beyond COVID-19.

But how can you ensure your business is properly responding to the needs of its employees in 2021 and beyond?

Step 1: Conduct employee assessments to curate an updated workplace wellness plan.

Before assessing your workplace wellness offerings, it’s important to check-in with your employees. Conducting an employee personal wellness survey is a great way to assess your employees’ current needs and help you take the first step in determining the proper wellness plan for your business.

This is also the best time to perform an environmental assessment of the workplace. According to the CDC, this evaluation is an opportunity to observe and learn more about the physical environment and its factors that support or interfere with the health and wellness of employees. With this information comes greater insight and understanding into the services that will best suit your team.

After completing your organizational assessments, you can better identify the most important components of your workplace wellness plan confidently and accurately.

Step 2: Rollout restructured virtual wellness program and offerings.

Offering a flexible and accessible workplace wellness plan is critical, especially as the needs and priorities of many employees in the workforce are drastically shifting. Responding in real-time to the climate will allow you to best serve your team and will contribute to overall employee wellness and sustained productivity. That’s why today 88% of employers are investing in mental health, 87% in telemedicine, 81% in stress management and 69% in mindfulness and meditation.

The reason major corporations, like Google, are offering their employees paramedical services – including massage therapy – is because they value the output they see as a result. Offering paramedical services can help reduce stress and pain, improve sleep quality, increase general wellbeing, provide personal support and more. An emphasis on employee physical, mental and emotional health in the workplace results in a team that feels well taken care of and motivated to perform at their best.

Emphasizing wellness practices such as massage therapy, meditation, aromatherapy, virtual fitness classes, as well as providing access to helpful online resources, are practical and timely approaches to modernizing your business’ wellness program. Rather than offering each employee in-person memberships to nearby gyms or group fitness facilities, put the power in the hands of employees with wellness and paramedical packages (carefully curated based on the survey results, of course).

Step 3: Utilize surveys to evaluate employee satisfaction and make necessary adjustments.

Assessing employee satisfaction after adjusting and implementing your new workplace wellness plan is just as important as the initial personal wellness assessment. Evaluating the success of the program by measuring employee feedback against the baseline surveys will show you how effectively your new wellness offerings are at increasing employee fulfillment and wellbeing. These changes will also be recognized through increased productivity resulting in a positive workplace culture and environment.

Don’t forget to revisit your workplace wellness plan frequently and adjust accordingly based on the current personal and professional status of your team to successfully sustain workplace wellness. By updating these service offerings on an as-needed basis, your employees will feel valued and cared for and your business will thrive.

Cristina Goebel is the owner and operator of Massage Heights Indianapolis, a female-owned and operated franchise offering convenient, professional, and affordable therapeutic services that help achieve a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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