As the workplace shifts from the office setting to an in-home remote experience due to the COVID-19 crisis, there are unfamiliar challenges the virtual workforce faces. 

Companies are wrestling with the proper courses of action to move forward to benefit their employee’s safety and overall productivity. As this ever-evolving situation proceeds with leaders in a constant state of adaptation, one element deserving of urgent attention and action is employee wellness.

It is incumbent on leadership to provide resources and proactive measures to help preserve the mental and physical health of their team during this adjustment period. Rise to the occasion and place emphasis on supporting your staff first and foremost; it’s the soundest investment strategy a leader can take during these unprecedented times.

My name is Samuel Leach; I am the CEO and founder of the UK-based trading organization, Samuel & Co. Trading. My altruistic pursuits include my philanthropic passion project, OverWatch, which protects our oceans’ biodiversity by engaging in harm reduction of coral life, endangered species, and limiting animal harm from sea debris.

I spent a good portion of my upbringing in a one-room flat that I shared with my brother and father. Motivated by the need to create a financially steady life for myself and my deserving family, I chose to enroll at a university and find a monetarily secure career. 

Amid the exposure to new ideas and my course load during my first couple of years, a natural curiosity for investments and finances materialized. In a few semesters, I leveraged my student bursary for my schooling expenses and applied it to fund my market trading passion. Before the year was over, I turned a one-hundred and seventy-pound earnings profit. 

My fascination for trading was born out of the necessity to construct a solid foundation for those I cherish. The way I operate my company is no different. The pandemic created a new opportunity to support the most important people in my life. Protecting my valued team members’ physical and mental health from the profound hardships that come with COVID19 and quarantine has been my priority since early 2020. 

Below are examples of ways to positively affect your employees’ wellness and productivity as they navigate working remotely during COVID19. 

Set up telemedicine consultation opportunities for your staff. 

Taking off work for a routine doctor’s visit is much more complicated, with COVID19 actively spreading. Fear of exposure to the virus at a clinic may limit non-urgent checkups. Your employees could opt against seeking medical attention for minor illness symptoms, which can progress to significant health risks if left untreated. Give your staff peace of mind if they develop any ailments or concerning non-emergency conditions and encourage them to stay on top of their health. The prevalence of telemedicine is rising as a safer alternative to in-hospital trips. The importance of maintaining a fit immune and vital systems against an illness that preys on preexisting conditions cannot be understated. Support the idea of taking all preventative and early detection measures they can to your team.

Invest in online mental health resources. 

Access to space where your team can address their anxieties and process their thoughts and feelings during these aberrant times is an investment that will pay dividends well beyond the current state of affairs. Expressing what’s on your mind to an unbiased party, whose purpose is to validate and ask the right questions to help you unlock introspection and understanding, is crucial during quarantine. Therapy sessions for those whose schedules are at capacity seemed like too much of an ask in the past. Still, from home’s comforts during the social distance-age, a therapist’s visit has never been conveniently accessible. Numerous free or low-cost apps cater to mental wellness are in surplus, so consider promoting these on-demand mental health aiding options. 

Dedicate an hour of the workweek to an optional virtual group exercise class. 

A once a week, end-of-business-day group workout session, in addition to the health benefits, will boost morale, camaraderie, and promote self and teammate accountability. There are various practices of exercise that will be inclusive of all levels of fitness. From beginners yoga, pulsing cardio programs, and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), there is an excess of inexpensive online resources where your team can support and push each other whilst letting out a little steam. Video-based web conferencing platforms create an ideal inclusive steaming environment with screen and audio capabilities so that your employees can enjoy their privacy but still feel a part of the team. 

Create nutritional wellness challenges. 

Your home office’s sedentary lifestyle, with unlimited access to a refrigerator and cupboard stocked only with your favorites, can lead to the occasional subconscious overindulging. Couple with the fact during stressful periods, we tend to seek comforts to cope, and flavor-rich, nutrient-lacking provision often is the prime culprit. The goal isn’t to remove said cuisine delights, but rather to introduce more healthy options into your team’s diet, in a support-focused program. Raise morale, health consciousness, and friendly competition with periodic nutrition challenges during office hours such as; most ounces of water drank, most fruits or vegetables consumed, times throughout the day you snacked on legumes, nuts, or seeds, and a tally meatless lunches. Remain encouraging throughout the process, as some may struggle more than most with diet during a pandemic. 

Encourage remote socialization and provide an escape from quarantine realities. 

Isolation creates adverse effects on mental wellness, which can manifest in unhealthy behaviors. Replace the watercooler with a business communication platform channel of non-work-related conversations. Take your team out to lunch digitally, create a stipend for your employees where you all can order out or prepare the same type of cuisine. End of week themed video conferencing Happy Hours can produce a festive atmosphere for your staff to commiserate, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company, all while alleviating the online workplace setting’s seriousness. 

Practice mindfulness and Expressing Gratitude

Hope and inner-peace can be in short supply when events overwhelm us. Staying in the moment and processing experiences can prevent the compounding of unfavorable circumstances that weigh us down. Displaying gratitude towards yourself and others can positively impact your psyche. Try meditation, journaling, and actively being grateful and navigating trying times could get a little easier. 

A comprehensive approach to keeping your mind, body, and soul at sustainable and efficient levels is in order as economic uncertainty, a highly contagious virus, and an extraordinary “new normal” way of life disrupts what we once knew. 

Follow Samuel on his Website and Medium