Like it or not COVID-19 has forced us to take a hard look at how we do business both as consumers but also for employers. The concept of work and life being separate were never working for those of us with care-giving or parental responsibilities (see Anatomy of a Working Mother). And neither does this make us bad employees, parental responsibilities and caring for others provide a variety of benefits and strengths to a resume. But before we dive too deeply into side comments, the truth is we are now being forced to examine the structure of our work schedules from an entirely new perspective, of flexibility and ultimately how all of this impacts health and wellness. Wellness goes beyond hours logged on a treadmill or how many celery stalks you ate. Wellness is comprised of your mental and emotional state, physical wellness, nutritional supports, safety, satisfaction, and risk factors for chronic conditions, just to name a few.
This has been for some industries, working well for years and some were forced to adapt due to crisis (never a fun way to learn a new skill set am I right?). Now you might be reading this and asking yourself how does this relate to wellness or public health?
So let me help break it down for you...
(As an employer ask yourself along the way, what do we offer? What else should we start offering? As an employee, what do you need more of?).
1) Healthy and active employees cost less in terms of health expenditures
2) Employees who take advantage of wellness are more productive
3) Active employees/families are healthier
4) Wellness programming inspires behavior changes and assistance
5) Tax incentives for business owners
6) Less turnover
7) Hiring perk to offer prospects
8) Positive workplace culture
Now how does this relate to parents and caregivers?
Add family/caregiver/ parent to each one...
1) A healthy and active parent/caregiver costs less personally and from the standpoint of their family in healthcare coverage and added employer costs. When we encourage this culture for employees we also encourage it to their families.
2) Families/caregivers who take advantage of wellness are more present in their work and productive.
3)Families/caregivers who are active and take advantage of wellness are healthier (less sick days, time off, etc).
4) Wellness programming that is inclusive promotes the health and well-being of the entire family and leads to healthier workplaces.
5)Tax incentives still apply
6) Employees/families want to stay with a company that invests in their health and wellness
7) Now more than ever job prospects are being selected because of benefits and opportunities versus salaries. Prospects are actively looking for benefits packages that allow them the support to grow.
8) Positive workplace culture is a culture that supports all members of the staff families/caregivers/ and anyone in between. This culture is one in which everyone wants to be involved in.
Other benefits to be included that promote wellness:
Paid leave for caregivers/parents/ those in need
Breastfeeding friendly workplace/ policies
Mental health support and services
On-site health clinics
Child care benefits/ on-site/ subsidies
From the perspective of an employee reading this, ask yourself these questions:
1) What benefits, programs, and services is my workplace offer me?
2) How do these impact my health?
3) Do I need more support?
As an employer or a wellness manager or HR personnel:
1) Where are my blind spots and possible biases?
2) What are 3 small improvements we can make to improve culture and wellness?
3) How am I measuring progress and change?
Let us know if there is any way we can help! email us: firstname.lastname@example.org