2020 has been a year of uncertainty and change. With everything that’s happened (and everything that is undoubtedly to come), supporting the health and wellbeing of your team should be a top priority.
Having a healthy team, both emotionally and physically, is not only good for people as individuals but for your business as well. Studies continue to show that happy workers result in higher company profits, more employee satisfaction, increased employee retention, and less absenteeism.
It’s worth saying that “happy and healthy” can feel like lofty goals, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. But “lofty” doesn’t mean impossible, which is why we’ve made supporting the team’s overall health and wellness a priority in 2020. In this blog, we’ll outline some of the strategies we’ve implemented to support our team, and some of the perspectives you can use to empower your employees.
It’s Time to Re-Imagine Workplace Wellness
When it comes to any project, challenge, or opportunity, context is king. Something that may have been helpful in one context, like your pre-pandemic office setting, might not be as effective or meaningful on the other side of COVID-19. Now is the time to adapt.
As things change, it can be easy to get discouraged. Change is difficult, especially under our current circumstances. But COVID-19 has proved that re-using the same old solutions in a new context isn’t an option. As we sort through the uncertain future, we have the unique opportunity to embrace our reality and get creative with our problem-solving. To do that, we need to ask ourselves these questions:
- Where are we at in our personal and professional lives?
- What does our team need to feel safe, connected, and valued?
- What do we miss? How can we replicate those activities using technology?
When we understand what we need, we can find practical solutions.
Before the LaFleur team began working from home, we enjoyed team walks, shared meals, countless face-to-face meetings, and the occasional round of ping pong. We bike commuted, shared happy hours, and celebrated achievements as a team.
These activities contributed to our team’s health and wellbeing. As problem-solvers, we re-imagined the things we love to make sense in our current context.
How LaFleur Is Prioritizing Health During Uncertain Times
To effectively address our own needs, we needed to understand them. Here’s how we made that happen.
Where Are We At?
We quickly realized that the “new normal” was incredibly stressful. To combat the burnout and fatigue, we doubled down on our “work when you’re productive” policy and encouraged people to take time off to avoid burnout. We increased channels of inter-office communication and invested in new organizational tools, so even though we’re not together, we still have what we need to do our best work.
What Do We Need to Feel Safe and Connected?
As we slowly implement a phased re-opening of our Grand Rapids office, we’ve taken several safety precautions. Hence, the staff feels safe and comfortable back in the space, including high-quality air filters and putting careful limits on how many people can be in the office and where.
Outside of the office, we’ve chosen volunteer opportunities that are outside, so we can social distance, or independent activities like trash pickup in our local parks. Some members of our team go on socially distant walking meetings and have outdoor check-ins. To stay active on our own, we compete in regular step challenges. These virtual and in-person connections offer our team a safe way to connect and remember that they’re valued.
How Can Technology Help?
It’s no substitute for real-life, but Zoom has been an incredible tool for connection. We hold regular all-hands meetings to stay abreast of everyone’s projects, plus several optional check-ins like virtual “water cooler” meetings and digital happy hours. Instead of potlucks, one random staff member wins a lunch every week that they can order using the company DoorDash account. We also work out together twice a week with a personal trainer via Zoom.
RELATED: Work and Coronavirus: Let’s Redefine Wellness
We Believe That We’re Building a Better Future Together
This year hasn’t been easy, but we know the LaFleur community is resilient, creative, and strong. We’ll probably have to revisit these questions a few times before it’s all over, and that’s okay. Right now, there’s no way out but through.
It’s our hope that we don’t “go back to normal,” but instead continue finding new, agile ways to promote team health and wellness, and keep producing great work and achieving excellent outcomes for our clients.
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Etchie, M. (2019, December 30). Five Benefits of Improving Employee Wellness and Wellbeing in the Workplace. Thrive Global. Retrieved from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/5-benefits-of-improving-employee-wellness-and-well-being-in-the-workplace/