Post-pandemic concerns about physical and mental health are contributing to how workers are treating the future of office wellbeing, according to experts.
Workers' frame of mind about health and wellness has dramatically changed in the years after the American COVID-19 lockdown. A Pew Research Poll found that one in four workers quit a job over the past two years for the sake of their mental health. Additionally, 43% of workers who quit their jobs cited that part of the reason was due to inadequate benefits, such as insurance or paid sick days.
In a Gallup poll, 37% of employees say they're not satisfied with their company's attempts to improve employee wellbeing.
So what do employees want out of their health benefits in the post-pandemic world, and how can organizations accommodate them?
The first step is supporting employees with the most comprehensive health plans possible, Dr. Geeta Nayyar, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Salesforce, and Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, CMO of Thrive Global, told Quartz. This includes dental, vision, and mental health benefits. Remote workers who spend more time being sedentary may also need additional aids such as optional gym memberships or activity breaks. Firms can also partner with healthy meal delivery services as a treat for employees or encourage walking meetings.
Next, health literacy must be at the forefront of any company culture. Employees need to know that their health and wellness are being considered and aren't a taboo subject in the office. This includes what Dr. Nayyar and Dr. Yaqub call "mental health mandates," which help workers discuss and cope with remote work's potential isolation and loneliness.
Employees may also be having a difficult time transitioning back to the office, and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that the changeover is effortless. Mental health policies should be worked into every company's handbook, according to the doctors, and executives should lead by example by maintaining healthy work-life balances.