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Physical health has always been deemed important to employers, but due to stigma, cost, or a collection of other reasons, mental health was never the priority.  Boy have times changed – for the better!  One good thing that has been realized by this COVID pandemic is management is finally discovering how important it is to focus on mental health.  Over the past year at Endeavor Health Services, we have implemented a more formal Wellness Program with a balanced concentration between physical and mental health, or in other words an increased awareness of an employee’s overall well-being.

According to an article by Steven Miller dated June 22, 2020 on the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) website, “there is evidence that well-being is tied to business profitability. A 2019 study by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science used a meta-analysis of 339 independent research studies accumulated by Gallup, covering 1.8 million employees. The research showed that workers who reported a higher sense of well-being were more productive and more likely to remain with their employer, which ultimately benefited the business’s bottom line.”  Possibly more important than the bottom-line, is the peace of mind in having stability of employment for our staff and their families, in a time when so many businesses are closing their doors.  Having that stability provides consistency for our clients as well, which is crucial to their treatment.

We started with forming a committee of employees who are passionate about wellness.  We meet monthly to discuss, plan and implement engaging wellness activities throughout the year.  We, like many other companies, have been used to in person wellness events, so it certainly has been a challenge to continue to find activities that can be done virtually.  Thankfully, we have a very creative Wellness Team that isn’t afraid to try new things.  Several of our staff jumped right in and did healthy cooking demonstrations over Zoom.  A couple of employees are also talented musicians who happily volunteered to provide music therapy by singing or playing guitar.  We’ve partnered closer with our health insurance vendor to provide wellness webinars and online seminars.  The things that seemed to engage employees the most cost the least.  For example, we called on everyone to think about what and whom they were thankful for at work, and email a message of thanks to the committee.  We compiled all of those notes into a presentation with music and played it for staff.  It was truly heartfelt and inspirational – who can’t use a little of that in the middle of the day!  Between that and Wellness BINGO, a Wellness Scavenger Hunt, step challenges, etc. our employees who are spread out in several different locations are able to engage with one another virtually and come together as one.  My daughter and her friends say being in the middle of the pandemic feels like a “fever dream”.  Our hope is that if our employees are feeling that way, the Wellness Program and our activities can pull you back into focus with an increased control of body and mind, and a better sense of well-being.

By Melanie Tarantelli, Human Resources Manager at Endeavor Health Services