6 ways organizations can support employee mental health and well-being
Keeping people engaged and satisfied with their work helps organizations build a sense of belonging and create a welcomi...
Keeping people engaged and satisfied with their work helps organizations build a sense of belonging and create a welcoming atmosphere where both staff and the company can thrive. It is then crucial to take care of their well-being not only in times of prosperity but also during a crisis.
We have always tried to appreciate the efforts of our people by organizing integration meetings, workshops, and webinars. At the same time, we equipped our offices with amenities that create comfortable spaces for doing everyday work, relaxing during a break, and organizing initiatives run by our colleagues.
But the sudden outbreak of the pandemic and the introduction of strict sanitary measures in the workplace have forced employers to alter work rules and protocols.
Offices closed, human interactions were limited, and there were many uncertainties around the future, so stress levels soared. Some people who had been already fighting mental health problems saw a deterioration. The social isolation imposed by restrictions only added fuel to the fire.
The pandemic taught us many valuable lessons, and although it has been finally slowing down, our approach to dealing with emergencies and improving the well-being of our people has not changed. We keep coming up with new ways to support our employees, and I wanted to share some of our ideas in this article.
People around the globe experience stress induced by many different factors, and we wanted our employees to avoid its consequences.
To help them get back on a healthy track, we launched a wellness program called ‘Act with care’ that focused on 3 long-term procedures:
Let’s now have a look at what that meant in practice.
For many years, our main asset has been the educational budget of 8000 PLN/1750 EUR. Each employee may use it to improve their skills by taking part in courses, workshops, or other learning sessions of their choice and to cover the costs of training materials.
Once the pandemic started, we decided to allow our people to spend some part of it on wellness activities that would support them physically, mentally, and psychologically.
They can now allocate a quarter of the budget each year to finance visits at the following practices:
Seeing that people were keen to spend the budget, we expanded the list of services even further to subsidize other well-being activities, such as:
Many of our employees now work remotely and spend several hours a day sitting in one room. As a result, they may start to experience mental and body tension.
As physical activity can undoubtedly reduce stress, make us feel better, and help us stay fit, we keep encouraging our employees to do simple home exercises regularly or train with some widely available workout sessions on YouTube.
With the time of closed gyms long gone, Predicans can also make use of the subsidized sports cards to go to a sports center, swimming pool, or other recreation facilities.
In addition, we made it more convenient for people to work from home by lending desks and chairs from the offices to their homes. Many of them received height-adjustable desks that help prevent muscle inactivity and support better posture.
Apart from motivating our people to take care of their physical health, we also try to lend a hand when they are struggling to maintain their emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
That is why we extended our program with yet another service – a 24/7 support group, ready to offer immediate help and advice in hard times.
We also started to cooperate with a business consultant and sports psychologist with many years of experience in organizing sessions for fighting stress called ‘How to take care of your mental health?’
He helps Predicans cope with difficulties, improve and maintain motivation, and manage emotions, and runs group sessions to help build effective teams.
To help raise awareness of how vulnerable people are to stress and provide them with a toolkit to build and maintain emotional resilience, we introduced another program called “Stepping out of Stress – The 5 Pillars of Stress & You.”
In this series of workshops, Predicans learn the good, bad, and ugly sides of stress and can examine the language that disempowers and bullies themselves and others. They also discover how ignoring feelings of vulnerability affects emotional health and what they can do to change that.
The ultimate workshop goal is to reveal, analyze, and manage the 5 Pillars of Stress that attract, build up and sustain pressure in our lives.
In previous years, we often met and spent time together at integration meetings and parties. Most activities used to take place on-site, but with time we had to move all of them online, waiting for the sanitary restrictions to ease.
We compiled a catalog of over 40 ideas for meetings and online games that brought teams together in those challenging times. The activities varied from wine-tasting sessions with sommeliers to strategy games. Once a week, we would organize an online coffee hour to discuss different topics of interest and spend some time together sharing our thoughts.
The idea was to weave off the feeling of loneliness or isolation and create a positive atmosphere with employees feeling safe and at ease.
To sweeten their sometimes-bitter remote working hours or online group meetings in times of pandemic, we also sent coffee bags to each employee, which they received with much joy and appreciation. At least in some way, we could make their day more pleasant.
Now, they can again enjoy their favorite lattes and espressos in the office kitchen and even make a group order for a pizza in a customized application in Microsoft Teams.
Additionally, each team receives an extra budget to cover the cost of group activities and dining options. What is more, it can be spent on either online or on-site integration, meaning that workers from around the world can enjoy the company of their peers.
While online integration meetings were a hit among our people, we saw that they were all looking forward to socializing face-to-face.
We wanted to keep their morale high and encourage them to take part in as many group activities as possible to improve their well-being even more. And that’s how we came about the idea for hobby clubs where Predicans can share their passions and meet their team members and new employees.
Apart from regular meetings organized in our offices, they also organize trips and events and even represent our company in national competitions. For example, Predica’s Football Club played in a charity soccer tournament for IT companies and IT students and participated in the ‘Liga Fanów’ amateur matches in Warsaw, Poland.
Then, our Board Games Club spends dozens of hours playing in the office and regularly schedules weekend trips outside the city, while the Music Club has already recorded a few awesome demos.
Recently, we have also launched a Stand-Up Games Club and hosted a table tennis competition in our two branches in Warsaw and Lublin. That only goes to show that connecting with others is very important, even in times of remote work.
After the pandemic, the wellness budget stayed with us for good. Our people rate it as the best benefit at Predica in the surveys, and we are happy that it helps them in both good and bad times.
Apart from the programs organized by the HR department, Predicans launched their own initiatives that improve their overall well-being and make them feel welcome and supported.
It is amazing to see that our employees are happy to share their experiences, organize events to follow their hobbies and find space to give their tips, for example, on working remotely with kids who stay at home.
All those things showed how strong we can be and how much support we can give to our colleagues. We know that Predica always has our back, and we all help each other when help is needed.
So, if you also want to become part of our community, then see our job offers.
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