Almost 3 years after the COVID outbreak, the pandemic has become part of history. However, the impact of the pandemic remains strong. Many companies have shifted to a remote or hybrid model, which is one of the biggest consequences of COVID-19 for workplaces - resulting in changes in business operations and mindsets that will outlive the pandemic itself much longer. Inevitably, some issues have arisen in the workplace.
Amid unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and social isolation, many employees' sense of well-being took a hit over the course of the pandemic - forcing employers to mull over different ways that they can support the physical and mental well-being of their workforces. The essential step is to build a healthy company culture and create a supportive work environment.
Encourage Employees to Take Breaks & Prevent Burnout
Although there’s no getting around the monumental impact that the pandemic has had on people’s professional lives and the workplace, some challenges in today’s workplace have long existed before COVID. One of the common challenges is the issue of burnout caused by unhealthy work habits, due to the lack of effort employers put into building a culture of well-being.
Surveys discovered that nearly a quarter of U.K. office workers don’t take any breaks during their day apart from lunch, and nearly half - 46% - said that their supervisors don’t encourage them to take breaks. According to another survey conducted by OnePoll, 29% of American workers don’t even take lunch breaks while working from home, while six in ten report feeling guilty about taking any breaks at all.
Not taking breaks, a seemingly small issue, has a significant impact on employees’ well-being and can cause lots of damage to employee morale and directly affect employee productivity and overall performance. It is in both the employee's and employer’s best interest to promote a positive company culture that promotes healthy and sustainable work habits and dynamics. In many cases, employees are hesitant to take breaks because there is no explicit rule or policy that allows breaks. An easy fix would be to update company policy regarding breaks and make clear communication to employees for the update. The period of breaks can vary depending on each company’s various situations. However, employers can still encourage employees to take short “microbreaks” throughout the day to prevent burnout and ease the mental and physical strain, even just for 5 minutes each time.
Create A Supportive Work Environment
Although not all challenges to employee well-being can be ascribed to the pandemic, it certainly has exacerbated them. The post-pandemic workplace needs a lot of adjustments including creating a supportive work environment.
Research shows that since the pandemic began, 42% of people are more stressed at work, and 33% are less motivated in the workplace. According to another survey conducted by Indeed, 67% of respondents believe that the pandemic has exacerbated burnout, compared to only 13% who think it has alleviated burnout.
A supportive and healthy work environment is much needed for the post-pandemic workplace to help safeguard employees’ well-being and improve organizational performance. Employers can start by making adjustments to daily schedules, such as incorporating walking meetings, mindfulness breaks, and sleep workshops. This will help employees rewind more effectively and get refreshments throughout the day and ultimately work more efficiently. Employers can also consider incorporating an element of reward to motivate employees to embrace the changes. These rewards can be vouchers for wellness brands or charitable contributions in exchange for logging a certain number of mindfulness sessions or average daily step counts.
Employee Well-Being in the Post-Pandemic Workplace
While these solutions can certainly help improve employee well-being and prevent burnout in the workplace, there’s no reason to stop there.
Employee engagement software can be of great help in monitoring employee engagement while providing all the support to ensure a healthy and positive workplace, so you can truly pinpoint where the issues are and address them efficiently.