Over the last few years, the ways in which we work have changed immensely. Many companies transitioned from being in-office to fully-remote and now some have made their way back to the office, whereas others are either hybrid or fully remote. With all of these changes happening so quickly, it’s important to think about how this could be affecting your employees. Having an established workplace wellness program provides employees with resources, incentives, social support, and strategies to adopt and maintain healthy behaviours pertaining to their mental, physical, and emotional health.
Importance of Workplace Wellness Programs
Having a workplace wellness program is essential to support your employees' mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s beneficial to the employees for a variety of reasons:
- Promotes healthy behaviours—It can encourage employees to form better habits in their lives whether it pertains to food choices, exercises, meditation, and so forth.
- Helps reduce stress levels and burnout—It can help employees manage/find coping mechanisms for unavoidable stress and burnout that may come up in their daily work, which can especially be a problem in a fast-paced client work setting in tech.
- Improves employee morale—Employees feel cared for which contributes to an increase in things like satisfaction, productivity, and overall employee morale.
It's important to note that implementing a workplace wellness program also makes you more competitive as an employer. With the current state of the market, attracting and retaining talent is competitive, especially in tech. Having a workplace wellness program in place with a variety of resources can be the factor that drives someone to apply to your company or choose your job offer over others—people want to know that their employer cares about more than just their job performance, by investing in things like their wellness, personal development, etc.
TribalScale's Wellness Program
At TribalScale we offer our employees a variety of benefits as we want to ensure all areas of wellness are covered in our workplace wellness program. Below are a few examples of the different services we offer:
- MyHSA—Every year full-time employees are able to spend $500 to cover expenses such as home office equipment, gym memberships, training, fitness equipment, daycare services, and so forth.
- Inward Strong—Access to professional support & coping techniques.
- Inkblot—Access to counselling & mental health support.
- KixCare—Virtual care benefit to support your child(ren)’s health and wellbeing.
- Goodlife Gym Memberships
- Toronto Bike Share—Access to unlimited trips across the city.
Aside from the workplace wellness program we have in place, throughout the year TribalScale takes part in a wide range of wellness initiatives as well. Some of these include:
- Step challenges—Through the challenge we encourage competition between employees, it keeps them accountable to reach their set step goals for the month, and ensures they’re moving their bodies after a day of work.
- Remote working set ups—Employees have full autonomy to customize their home office, creating a set up that best suits them. Whether it’s having a stand up desk, ergonomic chair, under-the-desk treadmills; they have the ability through MyHSA to really make their home office best suited to their wellness needs.
- Holiday shutdown at the end of December—Employees get an extra few days off to spend time with their families between Christmas and New Years.
- In-person and virtual company socials—It provides everyone with the opportunity to get out and socialize with the team. Whether that be an in-person work day, a taco night, a games night, the options are endless! It provides employees with a change of scenery and allows them to get closer with their teammates and have some fun!
How We Built the Program & Learning Lessons
At TribalScale, we shifted from working in-person to working fully remote, with the majority of our team now spread across North and South America. Various wellness initiatives were set in place before, but as the years have gone by, our team has put more research and planning into innovative ways we could incorporate wellness into the company. Here are two important things we've learned when building our wellness program:
As time goes by, people’s needs and wants change—We keep our wellness program flexible and adjust accordingly by continuously shifting and growing our program. When thinking about the support we want to offer, we look at the data that is provided by our employees. Through engagement surveys, our 360 and mid-year review processes, and so forth, we receive valuable feedback on what our employees want and we react to this by incorporating the benefits that best reflect our employees' needs and wants.
Wellness needs to be incorporated into company values—Within the last year we added Caring as one of our company values because we learned that employee wellness is achieved sustainably through everyone caring about their peers and teammates. It doesn't matter how much you invest into a wellness program or how many innovative wellness benefits you offer, you need to have a culture that supports and encourages wellness.
Factors to Consider When Building a Wellness Program
When creating a wellness program, there are various factors that need to be taken into consideration. Below are some questions to consider:
- What is your organization's budget for the wellness program? What mix of free initiatives and paid services can you incorporate?
- Where are all of your employees located? Different areas of the world will mean access to different services. Are they concentrated in one area or dispersed across different areas?
- Consider the different ways you can offer your wellness program. Are you able to offer remote options and in-person options for services and initiatives?
- If you start a wellness program today, how would it affect your workplace three years from now?
- Do you want wellness to be a company perk or a benefit?
Consider also gathering feedback from your employees to answer some of these questions and further customize your wellness program. You should be incorporating their thoughts on what wellness services and initiatives they would want/need.
These are the different resources we’ve provided our TribalScale employees, but it's important to understand that this will be different for every organization based on the needs of their employees and the overall business.
Ultimately, the implementation of a workplace wellness program can benefit a company greatly. There are various factors to consider when creating a wellness program, but in the long run it can be a great addition to the company, not only in terms of keeping employees happy and providing them with wellness resources, but it can also make you more attractive as an employer. To stay competitive, be on the lookout for what other companies in your respective industry are offering their employees and what new wellness perks and services are popping up. And remember, your wellness program is something that can always change and grow over time—as your business needs and employees change, so can the program!
Ada is the People & Culture Coordinator here at TribalScale and is focused on managing and leading the Co-Op Program for the organization. Outside of work she likes to travel, workout, and spend time with her family and friends at their cottage.