What is Wellness Fatigue?
Many organisations have excellent wellness supports in place, and yet there appears to be a disconnect between the offerings and what employees are experiencing. Wellness fatigue is a key challenge for businesses over the next coming months. To ensure wellness offerings are relevant to staff’s needs understanding the levels of wellness fatigue is critical.
Even with great supports in place employee feedback points to creeping levels of stress and exhaustion. Reports of increasing workloads and tiredness are common amongst employees. A question frequently asked is ‘Where do I find the time to participate in the wellness events?’ Wellness fatigue is associated with feelings of apathy towards wellness supports in place. Often employees may feel obliged to participate and see it as another task on their ‘to do’ list.
The Reasons for Wellness Fatigue
There are many reasons for apathy towards corporate wellness supports, and some of them are beyond the business’ control. The extended lockdown is hard and adds to the uncertainty around continued remote working. Socialisation is a basic human need. People are starting to miss that informal chat with colleagues at the water dispenser. What initially was hailed as a great revolution, we are now acknowledging both the benefits and challenges of remote working in the pandemic environment.
Lack of Good Communication
There is a real need for businesses to communicate that the light is at the end of the tunnel and its intentions around future hybrid work arrangements. Acknowledge with staff this lockdown is different, and that it is perhaps more challenging for some. Additionally, whatever your business’ plans are around remote working, to engage staff on the subject. Organise focus groups and surveys to keep staff involved and updated with the company’s remote working plans.
Wellness Does Not Substitute Good Management
Wellness is not a substitute for good leadership but it is an integral part of management that is identified in the HSE management standards. These standards provide an excellent framework to ensure conditions are in place to avoid burnout, if ignored wellness fatigue will set in.
Ensure all team leaders understand stress management standards and apply them in the context of the extended lockdown. For example, reports of workloads have stayed the same or in some cases increased during the pandemic. There is a real need for businesses to understand and communicate to staff workloads cannot be the same if individuals have extra personal responsibilities due to the pandemic. Discussions around prioritisation is essential at this time.
Wellness Practices Not Weaved into Business Processes
Corporate wellness is not an add-on activity. A sustainable integrated approach to wellness happens when companies weave wellness into their business processes and integrate wellness into their culture which takes time. A culture underpinned by wellness encourages staff to challenge, question, and be innovative. Linking wellness to an organisation’s core values helps to further integrate it into your business’ processes.
For this to happen requires continual engagement from staff and the organisation to provide creative ways to challenge the status quo, be innovative about how to anchor wellness into everyday activities like communications with colleagues and facilitating meetings.
How to address wellness fatigue?
If you feel wellness fatigue is present implementing events without checking in with staff is a fruitless exercise. Encourage team leads to check in with employees. Ask questions around their participation levels in wellness events, ask what are the key challenges preventing engagement.
The demarcation between home and work life is blurring. Encourage employees to create boundaries and practice good work and homelife hygiene. When using shared home space put the laptop away when finished work creates a distance between work and home life.
When organising wellness events, schedule them during the workday, rather than during the lunch break. Encourage staff to take short breaks away from the screen throughout the day. Consider scheduling a companywide time in the day when no meetings (and ideally no calls) take place. Market this as ‘Creative Time’, to encourage staff to reflect on priorities, or simply to take their lunch without interruptions.
Flexible working arrangements leads to an increase in out of hours emails. Etiquette ensures an understanding across the business about expectations to answer emails. Actively promote an email etiquette that establishes ground rules for sending and receiving emails outside the normal business hours.
Finally start meetings with a round table check-in is a great way to assess the mood and encourage discussion on wellness. Including wellness as an agenda item in team meetings encourages discussion on issues challenging individuals. It provides an opportunity to share a problem and encourages self-care amongst staff.
Interested in exploring how to address wellness fatigue check out the Mindfulness in Business Series course which starts February 26th, 2021, for further information email firstname.lastname@example.org