COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on employee wellness. Even as things begin to reopen and discussions about what the “new normal” will look like, the emphasis on work-life balance, physical and mental wellbeing, and healthy lifestyles are likely to remain. Many workplaces are implementing long-term remote and hybrid work environments.
A lot of the focus on the changes the past 18 months have brought have been on the negative, understandably—however, employers can leverage these changes to encourage better work-life balance, especially for employees who are still getting used to having their work computer on and connected in their home 24/7.
Promoting employee wellness will not only contribute to a positive culture, but it can also be used to recruit new talent as job seekers being to look for roles and organizations that will allow them to have a healthy, balanced lifestyle with a fun and engaging work culture.
Your intranet is an important channel to inform and encourage employee wellness. Here are some ways to leverage your intranet to ensure that your employees are aware of the wellness benefits that your organization offers.
Make information easy to find on your intranet
Creating a one-stop-shop for all employee wellness information increases the likelihood that it will be seen. Some customers have created a sub-site from their Human Resources or Benefits site that is easily seen and accessible from the homepage. All policies, documents, forms, and external links can be housed here. This also makes it easier to keep information updated or make content seasonal.
- Gym membership information or health and activity subsidies your company provides
- Links to your organization’s Employee Assistance Program, and some information on how it works
- Information shared by your insurance provider on topics ranging from healthy eating andfinancial planning to mental and physical health
- Details on virtual or in-person mindfulness, yoga, or massage sessions
- Local events that foster good health, such as bike to work week
- Seasonal issues (seasonal depression, depression around holidays, helping children adjust to time changes, etc.)
- Health and wellbeing campaigns and events
A place for sharing to foster employee wellness
A great employee culture goes a long way to easing workplace stress, but it can be challenging to maintain when employees are working remotely. Creating space for your team to share information and interact will boost their feelings of engagement and allow them to contribute to the culture.
- Ask your team to share links to their favourite apps for wellness, health, and fitness
- Add Employee Recognition to your intranet to allow team members to give kudos and share successes
- Share employees’ work anniversaries and birthdays on the intranet so their coworkers can add their congratulations
- Create a fun Discussion Board
- Start a wellness group, including areas for sports such as running, cycling, golf, yoga, etc. that your team members participate in
- Consider adding places to share funny GIFs, videos, and memes*
- Use Quick Polls to ask ice-breaker questions*, collect feedback, and take the pulse of your team
*These may or may not be a part of your culture—but it is my experience as Director of Company Experience that having a place to let off steam by laughing reduces stress, strengthens team bonds, and allows employees to be more resilient when dealing with stress.
Related reading: How to adapt your internal comms to the hybrid workplace
Reduce email and prioritize intranet
Is anyone happy to receive more email? Heavy reliance on email contributes to information overload and communication fatigue. Both can lead to disengagement. Death-by-email is often overlooked as a contributor to employee burnout, as it is seen as an integral communication channel in many companies. Your intranet can consolidate information and act as a reference point to curtail unnecessary emails.
- Make your intranet the single sort of truth (no more emailing documents and spreadsheets back and forth!)
- Use RSS feeds to aggregate information from social media and marketing campaigns
- Use the Knowledgebase app to house frequently asked questions of each department
Regular communication from leadership is key
The absence of information can lead to anxiety or disengagement. Regular communication (which may seem like overcommunication when you get started) goes a long way to reassure employees. This is especially true in companies that have shifted to fully remote or hybrid work environments. The lack of “water cooler chat” can leave some employees feeling left out or uninformed. This can be harmful when employees feel disconnected from their leadership team.
Something as simple as a short blog post promoting new working conditions, or highlighting the focus on employee wellness shows the leadership’s commitment and ensures that employees are getting information they con trust.
Small steps forward with your intranet make all the difference
If much of this is new to your organization, don’t fret. Start by planning and implementing small changes. It is more important to start small and show commitment than to announce a grand plan and not carry it through, especially with employee wellness and how deeply it touches the company’s culture.