Supporting wellness in the digital age
Corporate wellness programs are a staple of the modern workplace. Since Johnson & Johnson broke new ground with their 1979 Live for Life program, workplace wellness schemes have become the norm for enterprises the world over. Today, organizational support is now widely understood as vital for employees to strike a healthy work-life balance and maintain wellness in and outside of work, but can innovations in technology further improve the impact of wellbeing programs?
Despite this, stress remains an ever-growing issue. Responsible for lower levels of productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher staff turnover, poor wellbeing is still estimated to cost the US economy over $300bn every year.
Poor wellbeing is estimated to cost the US economy over $300bn every year
With the influx of digital workplace platforms in the world of work, intranets are providing new ways of amplifying wellness initiatives, becoming a critical tool for offering support channels to employees and establishing cultures of mindfulness and wellbeing. This article will use a client’s example of how technology has changed approaches to wellbeing to demonstrate how you can be a part of the future of workplace wellness, providing three simple tips for enhancing the impact of your wellbeing initiatives.
Trivallis: Nurturing employee wellness with an intranet
Developing a wellness strategy
Trivallis is an example of an organization that puts employee wellbeing at the center of everything they do. Their workforce benefits from a wellness strategy backed by senior leadership and spearheaded by the Vitallis staff group and its network of wellbeing champions. As Samantha Graf, HR Business Partner and Vitallis Lead, explains:
Looking after our employee wellbeing is not just one of our strategic priorities here at Trivallis, but it is something that guides our core values.
However, back in 2017, Trivallis' leadership recognized a gap in their approach to employee wellness. The organization planned a co-ordinated wellbeing strategy to address this, understanding that to deliver excellent customer experiences, they needed to properly look after their people too.
Trivallis' first step was to form Vitallis, a group dedicated to the wellbeing of their workforce. However, any approach the Vitallis group took needed to be accessible by desk, non-desk and remote workers, presenting an initial hurdle to jump. For their strategy to have a significant impact on staff wellbeing, they needed an inclusive approach that catered to their workforce dynamic. Vitallis’ answer was to use their intranet, Hive, as a platform to promote a healthy mind, healthy body, and overall healthy self.
Vitallis: A pillar of support
Hive afforded the Vitallis group a reliable way of reaching employees no matter where they are due to its remotely accessible, mobile-first design. A dedicated Vitallis hub was added to Hive, acting as a digital home for employee wellness. This ensured visibility and awareness of the group and gave all staff easy access to wellbeing resources.
Samantha Graf credits Hive as a fundamental part of their wellness strategy.
Hive has supported our wellbeing strategy by enabling timely, fun, and informative resources to be shared across the whole workforce. Colleagues are notified about items they may find relevant and interesting, and significantly our remote workers can access information on any device as easily as if they were sat at a computer in the office.
Vitallis’ hub created a space for open discussion by inviting users to submit content, with some employees feeling comfortable sharing personal experiences with physical and mental health. This proved an extremely successful aspect of their strategy, seeing 150 user-written articles published in the first 3 months since launch, amassing nearly 10,000 views. Their wellbeing strategy also took advantage of native form functionality, which provided a means to easily survey and gauge overall wellbeing across the workforce. The output was a ‘wellness age’ for employees – a metric that allowed Vitallis to closely monitor the impact of wellbeing initiatives on an on-going basis.
To encourage healthy lifestyles, the group advertised social activities on Hive where users could add events to their calendars with one click of an integrated Outlook button. The group also appointed mental health first aiders and champions to act as ambassadors, ran training schemes, and used Hive’s homepage as a spotlight for campaigns. On World Mental Health Day, for example, Vitallis took over Hive, sharing several articles so that all visible content on the news feed was related to employee wellness.
Healthy employees, healthy organization
Vitallis expertly demonstrates how to combine a wellbeing strategy with the features of a digital workplace platform to elevate the reach and impact of initiatives. Trivallis’ wellbeing strategy has been so effective that it has even started to influence organizational plans for the future, including a move towards agile working and mental health training for all staff.
“Hive has played a large part in our wellbeing strategy. Looking back over the last two years of the Vitallis journey really demonstrates how utilizing a platform like Hive to talk to your staff can support wellbeing.”
Vitallis’ efforts have had a profound effect on Trivallis' employees, driving a significant reduction in days lost to stress-related absences of 46%. By using their digital workplace platform, Trivallis invested in the future wellbeing of its workforce, resulting in higher engagement scores, reduced staff turnover, and a healthier, happier workforce.
3 simple ways to amplify YOUR wellbeing program
From Trivallis' exemplary use of an intranet platform, we can see that it pays to use every available channel to look after your employees – after all, a happy workforce is a productive workforce. As well as benefiting employees, wellness programs boost your bottom line; a comprehensive review found that the average return on investment in employee wellbeing is 327%.
Good mental health allows us to perform at our top-level, helping us form stronger relationships with colleagues, better adapt to change, work more productively, and engage with our organization’s goals and objectives. 75% of organizations rank stress as their primary health concern, so while employers acknowledge the significance of mental health, it remains a problem area.
The likelihood is that your organization already offers wellness support, but with the assistance of a digital workplace platform, you can elevate your wellbeing programs to another level. Below, we look at how digital workplaces can be easily leveraged to amplify employee wellbeing programs and build support networks that make a genuine difference.
#1. Destigmatize wellness
All employers have a role to play in overcoming the social stigma surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Creating a culture where employees can talk openly about mental health is an essential aspect of supporting employee wellness
Give wellbeing a digital home
Ensure that the topic of wellness always has a place within your organization by giving it a home on your platform. Building a dedicated wellness hub on your intranet shows employees how important wellbeing is to your organization. These sections give visibility to programs and promote awareness among staff, while also providing easy access to resources and support.
Take the conversation to your intranet
Enterprise social features bring wellness dialogue to the surface and get people talking about physical and mental health. Social intranets provide a space to speak openly about wellbeing and establish social groups and communities, building stronger relationships between colleagues.
#2. Offer channels of support
Without channels for support around them, employees can feel isolated when it comes to managing mental wellbeing. An intranet platform can be a digital home for various avenues of support that give employees access to vital resources and information.
Create a support network
Listing contact numbers and websites for helplines and resources on your platform is a great place to start for establishing a support network. Nominating mental health ambassadors or creating ‘buddy systems’ is also an effective way of building a community for support. You can identify these individuals on your digital workplace with custom profile badges or on your people directory.
Flexible work policies
Digital workplaces accessible from outside of your network facilitate flexible working. Flexible working options show understanding for employees that care for young children or family members, helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance. It can also give staff the headspace they need to refresh mentally.
#3. Get people engaged
Mental wellbeing and employee engagement are interdependent. Having a sense of purpose is key to feeling good about ourselves and what we do, so naturally, this extends to our work too. Engaging employees with your organizational purpose support wellbeing by reminding them why they and their work matter.
Recognize employee efforts
Employers need to acknowledge the hard work of staff, as an employee whose efforts are appreciated is likely to be more fulfilled by their work. A recent LinkedIn survey revealed that 69% of employees believe they would work harder if their efforts were recognized. You can read more about how to do this in our article on driving engagement with employee recognition tools.
Get everyone involved
Running wellbeing campaigns and initiatives address issues head-on and bring everyone together for a good cause. World Mental Health Day, for example, is a prime occasion for promoting wellness activities on your intranet homepage. These campaigns underpin a culture of mindfulness, building a sense of corporate citizenship among employees.
Encourage employees to switch off
Giving employees the chance to de-stress is extremely beneficial to engagement, productivity, and overall wellbeing. Some companies go as far as to provide breakout areas for people to unwind, but this can also be as simple as encouraging employees to take their paid leave. Last year the average American only took 54% of their paid vacation days, so making it easy to book time off on your intranet platform can make a big difference to staff wellness.
Want to amplify your employee wellbeing initiatives?
If employee wellbeing is important to you and your organization, or you'd like to learn more about what you can do to support wellness in the workplace, book a free consultation with one of our experts today!