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Blue @ Work

6 tips to improve employee health during a pandemic

Offering your employees help during challenging times.

COVID-19 has presented many seen and unseen challenges to our everyday lives. From the masks we wear to the reduced level of social interaction with our friends and family, the challenges are too numerous to count. As a result, we are starting to see are the grim statistics associated with overall health and well-being during the pandemic.

A June survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 40 percent of adults in America are struggling with mental health or substance abuse, and more recent reports in August External Site showed mental health and well-being has declined by 33 percent.

One thing is clear, both statistically External Site and anecdotally in our personal lives, is that many people’s overall well-being is suffering right now. So how can you help your employees (and yourself) stay healthy during a pandemic?

First, address the six elements of well-being

  1. Physical.

    With many people working from home and their gyms being temporarily or permanently closed, employees are not being as active as they were pre-pandemic. When employees feel better physically, their mental health improves as well. Think of adding wellness programs, individual or team-based challenges, or encouraging your employees to take 15–30-minute walks to break up their workday.

  2. Career.

    Give tasks and projects to your employees that help them use their strengths at work and make sure they understand how their job ties to the organization and goals. If they‘re fulfilled at work, it will positively affect their overall mental health and well-being.

  3. Financial.

    Even with the recent stimulus checks sent in January to help ease economic burdens, many Americans are still living paycheck-to-paycheck. And, if they’re struggling financially it will affect their stress level. Offering a program to ease their debt or one that helps them save can be a great way to ease their minds.

  4. Social.

    We are all missing the camaraderie that our family, friends, concerts, sporting events, festivals and more provide. Consider virtual, outdoor or socially distanced team outings and work meeting icebreakers to lighten moods and cultivate work friendships. You can also encourage your employees to connect with people over the phone or via Zoom instead of emails to heighten their levels of social interaction.

  5. Community.

    Seventy-seven percent of employees believe volunteering positively impacts their overall well-being. After all, the positive feeling the spirit of giving provides can extend past the holidays. Support volunteerism, sponsor programs or offer volunteer time off (VTO) to help promote well-being. This also provides the added bonuses of attracting and retaining valuable employees, as well as generating positive public perceptions of your business.

  6. Emotional.

    The past year of the pandemic, social unrest and political events have taken their toll on all of us. And, the daily news rarely provides stories of hope or inspiration. Check in with your employees and see how they’re doing from a mental health perspective. You can also consider offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and encourage them to take mental health days.

The health of millennials was on the decline before the pandemic — and now it’s even worse. Learn more Opens in a new window about how COVID-19 has affected these employees and how you can help.

Support for your employees

You can also use many of the solutions you get as a part of the Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® family to improve the health of your employees.

  • Blue365®:

    This program gives your employees exclusive access to discounts and resources that help them live a healthier lifestyle at Wellmark.com/Blue365 External Site
  • Doctor On Demand®:

    Give your employees access to mental and physical care at a lower cost — without them having to leave their house. They can connect face-to-face with a board-certified doctor from virtually anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or computer by visiting DoctorOnDemand.com External Site.
  • myWellmark®:

    Your employees get personal health care information at their fingertips — no matter their location — with tools, resources and insights to help them manage health care spending and live a healthier life at myWellmark.com Open in a new window.
  • Wellness Center:

    With the Wellmark Wellness Center powered by WebMD®, your employees get the help and motivation they need to reach their goals and live a healthier life. They can access this via myWellmark.com Opens in a new window, and/or the WebMD mobile app.

Ready, set, let’s talk wellness

At Wellmark, we know your business and have insights and data on your employees that you may not have. Our team of employer health and well-being consultants can serve as an extension of your workforce and provide expertise in creating engaging solutions to meet the unique needs of your employees.

Learn more, get connected and receive a complimentary consultation Opens in a new window with one of our employer health and well-being experts. Once you complete the form, you'll receive a copy of our Well-being that Works guide. We are here for you every step of the way, so let our team be your go-to source for finding the right combination of solutions — because one-size doesn’t fit all.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can support your organization and your employees' health and well-being this year and beyond, you can also contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at blueatwork@wellmark.com Send Email.