Do you know that how you help your workers deal with financial stress during the outbreak could have a lasting impact on retention efforts?
Employees at every level are dealing with amplified financial stress. According to a survey, about 60 percent of Americans attested to the fact that Coronavirus has harmed their finances.
Millions of people the world over are coping with Financial stress and Financial anxiety while dealing with the fear and reality of death and disease. Based on a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, close to half (45%) of U.S. adults have reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry over the virus.
Areas Employers Can Provide Assistance In
Coronavirus is everywhere, and there is a general fear that employees will get it and infect their families. Employers worldwide are trying to get their employees to work from home; to avoid contracting the virus. Employees are worried about financial stress; thus, the need to help arises.
Before going into details about ways employers can support employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to consider several areas employers can assist in. These include:
Financial wellness deals with the process of learning how to manage financial expenses successfully. In short, your employees’ financial wellness is their ability to have a healthy economic life.
Organizations can support their employee by ensuring they get the best retirement savings, monthly budget, credit card debt, and a substantial paycheck. Lecture sessions can be organized to train them on how to go about it.
According to a survey, most employees felt they’d be working into retirement. Here are some financial wellness tips for employees:
Prepare for Unexpected Expenses: You must avoid living from paycheck to paycheck to avert disaster. Because a little problem can eat up all your budgets. Waiting until the next paycheck means living with a periodic background check.
Financial stress is terrible for everyone; thus, you need to invest in positive financial wellbeing. You can figure out your amounts, budget for your goals, and budget for spending.
Make Provision For Emergency Savings: The moment you don’t have any emergency savings, it’s easy for a small financial issue to disturb your life. For instance, you run out of gas before the estimated time, and you don’t have the “rainy day” fund to pay for the refill. Not being able to take the food quality and quantity you need harms your productivity.
An employee must find out how much they need in their emergency fund and fill it up. The aim is to have cash reserves to cover most emergencies that come along. Emergency savings is an integral part of your financial wellness.
Clear Your High-Interest Debt: Paying off your debt is one of the financial wellness tips for employees. It will allow you to breathe a little easier daily, knowing your debt is decreasing, not increasing. Plus, when they’re all paid up, you can focus on your leisure goals.To get there, employees must move debt around to minimize interest payments and pay it off quickly. They can also transfer some of their higher-interest obligations to a lower-interest credit card by calling their credit card company or bank.
Make Good Use of Tax Advantages: Taxes are costly because they generally equate to a lot of money. Money that can function as emergency savings or used to pay off debt. Employees should take advantage of every chance to “legally” avoid paying taxes on earned income. By using employee benefits to maximize tax advantages, your employee financial wellness will significantly improve.
According to science, Financial anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, or unease about your finances. Consistent thinking about your monetary goals and how you’re not reaching them can be a sign of financial anxiety.
Employers can make provision for a financial assistance program. Employees can also manage Financial anxiety by focusing on things they can control and doing things that can help them stay healthy as much as possible. Later in this article, we’ll discuss how to manage financial anxiety.
Employers should provide up to two weeks of paid leave related to COVID-19, according to The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). It’s not only the employee that will benefit from this, as employers are also eligible for two new refundable payroll tax credits.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) put in place close to $350 billion in partially forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees impacted by Covid-19 to help cover payroll and temporary closings. Employees need to check with the H.R. department of their company and inquire about any benefits and paid leave they may be eligible for.
The naked truth is that most employers, especially small businesses, will have to sack and lay off employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, employers should provide severance pay, extend health benefits, and state a tentative rehiring date in case the business plans to continue running.
Employers should also aid employees with the unemployment process.
Mental health platforms that provide teletherapy have noticed a rise in usage during the Coronavirus pandemic. People become anxious, depressed, isolated, and lonely as they observe social distance and stay home to limit the spread of the virus. Providing resources to those who are struggling with their mental health during this crisis is vital. Employers should evaluate their present mental health benefits and consider telehealth solutions.
It’s no longer news that employers in essential services are struggling to fill open positions and comply with social distancing restrictions. For instance, CVS Health will recruit 50,000 full-time and part-time personnel through virtual job fairs, interviews, and job tryouts.
Employers can offer assistance to unemployed people by using virtual solutions such as video conferencing for interviews. There is no need to suspend the hiring process if you have the budget to employ.
How to Manage Financial Anxiety
In the previous section, we discussed how employers could help with their employees’ financial anxiety. In this section, we’ll discuss how the employees can manage their economic stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enquire About Your Eligibility It’s normal to be anxious about whether you will be layoff at work or not. If there is a provision for sick leave at work, you should make use of it now.
You need to focus on the functional aspects of your finances instead of the negative issues. Although thinking positively won’t conjure any magic, it can help calm your fears. It can also help you recognize and appreciate your financial strengths, which could proffer solutions to some of your problems.
Get a piece of paper and start listing the positive aspects of your money management skills. If things are tight or money is causing you anxiety, take a second to focus on where you’re going right. It will help you stay calm and clear your head.
Prioritize Your Payments
You need to prioritize which bills you’re going to pay first. Take care of your essential need, such as food, shelter, utilities, clothing, and transportation first. Just be focused on taking care of your necessities while doing your financial planning.Download a complete guide on Financial planning for FREE!There is no need to shop for attire, so resist any urge to engage in any retail therapy. Be on alert with rules about rent and EMI payment as some states are implementing programs that prevent evictions during the pandemic.
Look for Alternative Sources of IncomeSince you’re not sure if your job will be affected by the pandemic, you may want to start looking for an alternative source of income. You may make use of the opportunity to join the freelancing market.Some companies are desperate to hire freelancers presently. You can use any soft skills you possess to earn extra cash from home.
Manage Your Mental Health
Several studies have linked financial distress to poorer mental health. The more stressful you’re about money, the harder it may be to manage your psychological wellbeing and vice versa.You can manage your mental health by practicing good self-care. Make use of the pandemic to identify and practice healthy coping skills. Since you can’t go to the gym or go on an outing with your friend, it’s essential to determine what coping strategies work best for your stress level. Lastly, you also need to exercise more.
Ways to Help Reduce Financial Stress of Employees During Covid-19
With the current Covid-19 pandemic, your employees are stressed financially. Employers are tasked with helping them reduce financial stress because it can affect their productivity at work.
Here are ways to reduce employee financial stress. These include:
Quick Access to Earned WagesPresently, most workers are working from home. They need to pay the rent, and the bill for purchasing groceries is getting higher. Sometimes when hourly employees need quick cash, they run to expensive payday lenders that charge excessive percentage points in APR for a short-term loan.Employers can help to put money in the bank before payday. You can simply reduce their next paycheck by the amount they draw early.
Empower Employees to Master their MoneyA considerable percentage of people who earn six-figures live paycheck to paycheck, and this causes financial anxiety. Plus, presently, the next paycheck is not guaranteed. Thus, it’s no surprise to learn that some hourly workers face a severe cash crunch.Employers need to educate their employees on how to master their money and have proper financial planning. You will offer them the best tools and benefits. You need to treat them as partners for long-term success because you will be setting yourselves up for a major win-win.
Give Employees the Chance to Choose their PaydayMany organizations are conversant with a typical payday schedule such as the 15th and last day of Monday, every Friday, or weekly schedules. By offering early access to earned wages, employees can effectively choose their payday.
Due to the pandemic, most employees are stuck with their families at home, so the bills continue to surge. With this provision, they can shift around their payment schedule to better align with their laws and financial needs.
Organize Coaching on Debt
Most public schools don’t make provisions for a lecture on personal finance or financial planning. Due to the lack of training from parents or friends, most people don’t know how to handle things such as debts, credit cards, and bank accounts.Financial classes, coaching, and assistance programs will do an excellent job of helping employees overcome financial strains on their own. It can begin with a simple tip or piece of advice. Employees having a better understanding of their financial options will increase their satisfaction. Employers have the power to make it easier for their employees to find financial stability.Here’s a Free Course on Financial Planning, Enroll today
Automated SavingsEmployees need to automate savings to escape the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. Based on the Federal Research report, nearly 40% of U.S. households could not afford a $400 emergency from savings. Thus individuals and families must maintain an adequate emergency fund.Employees can automate savings by going through a split direct deposit from their payroll provider. Plus, they could turn on a recurring transfer from checking to savings on payday at their bank.
And there you have it – ways to help your employees deal with financial stress during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Helping your employees in these ways is a good start towards improving your workforce’s financial wellness and could lay a foundation for implementing a full-blown employee financial wellness program in the future.
From those mentioned above, it’s vivid that you need to turn your employee’s financial stress into financial wellness. Employers must know what their employees need help with and what they worry about.
There is a famous saying by Aristotle that ‘’ Well begun is half done’’. This very well applies to your investments also. Your investment beginning should be right. Then with the periodic review, you can achieve your goals. Hence, to begin with mutual fund investments, it’s important to consider certain important things so that you can make rational decisions that can effectively lead you towards your financial goal.
Following are the ten important things to consider while buying mutual funds in India
Net asset value any mutual fund depicts its intrinsic value. Basically, it is a fund’s market value per unit. Based on net asset value, you will be allocated a number of fund units when buying mutual funds. However, you cannot decide investments just on the basis of net asset value as it is not an indication of future performance. Let’s say you have chosen two funds with similar kinds of portfolio, there can be NAV differences. A fund that has been around for a longer time would have higher NAV and the recent one would have lower NAV. Net asset value is an indicator of a fund’s performance on a daily basis. While buying mutual funds, you need to consider other factors like returns and scheme performance along with NAV.
2) Historic performance
You can easily get the returns of mutual funds for the last five to ten years and also since inception online. Though historical performance of the fund is not an indicator of its future performance, you can analyse how the fund has been performing in a different market scenario since its inception. You can compare two more similar funds performance for the selection of mutual funds. Basically, you should use historical performance of the fund to analyse the performance trend and consistency.
3) Fund manager’s background
When you invest in mutual funds, your hard-earned money is going to be managed by fund managers on your behalf. You must ensure you are giving your money in better and deserving hands for management. Hence, you can do some background checking of fund managers to get the confidence over their expertise.
4) Investing style of the scheme
While buying a mutual fund, it is important to know whether a fund’s objective is matching with your objective and risk profile or not. Every fund manager follows an investment style as required for the scheme’s objective. To make the right investment decision it is important to know the investing style of the scheme.
In order to limit your losses in investment as per your risk profile, it is important to follow asset allocation. Each mutual fund allocates your investment into various asset classes like equity, debt and other securities based on the objective of the fund and the asset allocation that the fund manager would want to follow. It is important for you to consider asset allocation of the scheme that you are choosing to check whether that matches with your risk profile and defined asset allocation or not.
6) Assets under management
Asset under management or AUM in a mutual fund is the total cumulative investment value of that fund. AUM is an important consideration in the mutual fund buying process. Asset under management gives you a broad picture of the success of a mutual fund. Specifically, in case of debt funds, asset under management is an important fund selection parameter. Your expense ratio in debt funds can come down when you invest in a mutual fund with larger assets under management which will also have an impact on returns.
7) Direct or Regular mutual funds
When it comes to buying mutual funds, you can choose between direct or regular variants of mutual fund schemes. Direct fund refers to directly investing through asset management companies with paying any commission or distributor charges. Regular fund option is investing through distributors and advisors, expense ratio of which can be relatively more than that of direct funds. You can choose the one suitable for you, depending on your market knowledge and how you want it to work.
8) Growth or dividend option
When you select a mutual fund for investment, the portfolio of the fund will have many securities that may pay regular dividends. When you choose a scheme with a growth option, the dividend paid by the underlying securities is reinvested by the fund manager. When you opt for a dividend payout option, the amount of dividend will be paid out to your account. You can also choose a dividend reinvestment option in which the fund manager utilises the dividend amount to buy more shares. You can select the suitable option depending on your liquidity/ regular income requirement.
Entry and exit loads are the amount charged at the time of buying and selling mutual fund units respectively. Usually, the open-ended schemes may not have entry and exit loads. If you are buying closed ended funds, this would be applicable. As entry or exit loads are a fraction of the net asset value, it will bring down your investment value. Hence, considering the entry and exit loads is an important thing while buying mutual funds.
10) Tax implication
Every mutual fund scheme can have different tax effects depending on the category it belongs to. There are also tax-saving mutual funds that allow you to avail tax benefit under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Tax implication will have a huge impact on a fund’s return, hence it is an important thing about buying mutual funds.
Losing a skilled employee is a massive setback for any organization. Though the market is brimming with talents waiting to be hired, the organization may run into losses for the investments they have to make in the recruitment and training processes. Also, there’s no guarantee that the new candidate’s skills will be on par with the previous employee. This eventually leads to high turnover rates and harms the organization’s successful run. Therefore, every company needs to have an employee retention policy that includes benefits and strategies, which ensure maximum employee satisfaction and retention. It’s one of the most crucial tasks assigned to the HR who along with the employers or managers play a major role in increasing the employee retention rate of the company.
Employee retention is a process or effort put in by employers to retain their employees for a long time. Employees tend to look out for better opportunities due to lack of appraisals or appreciation. If you look at all the multi-natural successful companies today, they all have healthy retention rates because of the perks and benefits they offer. Employees are an investment too, and to make sure they bring the best to the company; it’s essential to keep them satisfied be it monetarily or by boosting their morale. A lot of HRs believe that employee retention begins after the recruitment process or probation, but to point out the certain, the retention program begins during the recruitment process itself.
Hence, companies need to draft an employee retention policy that will benefit them and the employees in the long run. Though most of the companies have an employee retention policy in place, not necessarily all are practicing the norms as they should; therefore, the rate of turnovers is increasing. Plus, it’s a living document which means it requires occasional updates to keep up with the trends in the industry. An organization that does not adhere to the employee retention policy or with low employee retention rates is running into gallows rather than touching the targets they have for the annual year.
Now that we’ve pointed out how important an employee retention policy is, let’s dive in to know more about the policy and why companies, especially small-scaled industries need to adapt them to cut down superfluous expenditures.
What is Employee Retention Policy?
The employee retention policy is a list of policies and programs drafted by employers to ensure maximum employee satisfaction and retention. These policies include perks, benefits, investment to train the candidates, to sharpen their skills and improve the employer-employee relationship. An organization that only focuses on recruitment strategies and not retention techniques run the risk of losing these employees in the long run.
Especially small-scaled organizations that focus more on productivity not realizing that their employees are an investment too. Losing them, especially skilled ones will eventually hamper the qualitative aspects and clientele relationship of the company. Also, the retention policies are not only about employees but the employers as well. The HRs have to make sure the employers are notified about the upgrade in industry trends, and the managers are clued in about these policies to keep the satisfaction level at par. If these employee retention policies are not revisited time-to-time or updated as per trends, then they are nothing but ink on a paper.
Why does an organization need Employment Retention Policy?
Though achieving targets and yielding profits is the primary goal, the employees are also important for the organization. They are the backbone; they are the driving force who give in their time, talent and labour to produce estimated sales and returns. However, at times only compensation may not justify the motivation or appreciation they seek from the employers or their managers. Also, if the managers are unable to deduce the employee’s state of mind or unhappiness, it could lead to the loss of key talent. Hence, the reason why employee retention policy is essential and here’s why every organization needs it:
It decreases high turnover rates – A good retention policy ensures high retention and increases in employee satisfaction graph. This means the employees are less likely to leave your company. Also, it will reduce the high turnovers because there are minimal recruitment requirements and training processes to invest in.
It enhances the employer-employee relationship – The HRs ensure the managers are aware of the policies, and they advise them to maintain a cordial relationship with the employees. A good employer-employee relationship can never have setbacks considering a lot of people leave jobs because of bad bosses.
It boosts employee’s morale – An employee who feels unappreciated in the company is more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. So naturally, boosting your employees’ morale becomes a crucial strategy to retain them for a long time.
How does the Employee Retention Policy benefit employees?
Though no employee is going to stay with the organization until the end of time, the prime idea is to retain them as long as they can. The reason being – A long-termed employee is aware of the organization’s guidelines, knows how it processes, is aware of the touch points and strategies to focus on to produce the targeted output and has built relationships with the clients.
So, losing a key talent is a huge setback for the organization, for it has to go through the recruitment processes all over again as well as invest in time and training to groom the new candidates. All in all, it an expensive procedure and to avoid these costly turnovers, several organizations are now focusing on benefits and even aligning these employee benefits with the objective of the organization. A marked shift has been witnessed in the retention strategies too, and Indian organizations are now investing large sums to not only retain but attract new talents as well.
Here are the key points that the policy touches to increase the rate of employee satisfaction –
Employee Recognition – Undefined roles and designations only lead to confusion and disappointments. Hence, HR’s advise employees to define their KRA’s not only to add clarity to their job descriptions but to make them realize that the employers are aware of their inputs in the organization’s growth. Besides this, the HR’s also advises managers to motivate the employees and guide them into new collaborations if need be.
Employee Benefits Strategies – Benefits and perks are one of the many reasons that affect employee satisfaction. There’s no hard and fast rule that there should be multiple benefits and perks to make your employees happy. Sticking to the basic ones that make their life easier and more meaningful outside the closed quarters of their cabins and work desks should seal the deal—for example, health insurance, discounts, recreational center memberships, in-house lunch services, etc.
Employee Appreciation Programs – Successful organizations are those who invest in employee engagement programs to ensure the employees are happy with their jobs. HRs are organizing more engagement-based activities, celebrating birthdays, annual parties, success parties, and sending out appreciation cards to boost morale. A happier employee means a successful organization.
Employee Inputs & Feedback – Other than staying updated on the trends, what’s matters is listening to your employees. They are on the field; they know the situation; they know where the organization is lacking or what strategies can be implemented to make working conditions better. Taking feedback and holding one-to-one meetings with employees not only enhances the employer-employee relationship but helps the HR’s or managers get an insight to concoct potential retention strategies.
Now that you know why an organization needs retention policies and how an employee can benefit from them, it is also necessary to design the employee retention policy accurately and keep it as employee-oriented as possible, while keeping the objectives of the business in mind.
An employee retention policy is different for all organizations. It depends on what the employees of the companies are seeking. As stated earlier, knowing what your employee wants, in order to deliver his best for the company is of utmost importance. Listening to your employee, appreciating the employees and making them feel a part of the company are some of the points to be focused on while aligning them with the objective of the business. In a way, the policies should not only ensure satisfaction but also motivate the employee to perform better than their previous outputs. There are several employee retention policy samples out there to guide your drafting process. Whether you are opting for something simple, fancy or creative, the following points must be focused on:
Objective – Define the objective of drafting the employee retention policy for the organization. Mention the aspects that need attention to attain this objective.
Strategies – Explain the strategies (benefits and perks) you are planning to implement to achieve the objective.
Outcome – Define the outcomes and what other gains that the organization is expecting by introducing this objective and implementing the strategies.
Measurement – How will the qualitative and quantitative outcomes of this objective be measured? Will, there be surveys sent out, will there be one-on-one meeting etc. to ensure the goal was met? All the methods and measures should be accurately defined in the plan.
Why invest in retention policies rather than recruitment strategies?
In India, the attrition rates are regrettably high, especially in the IT sectors. As per reports published in Economic Times in 2019, top IT firms like Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant are facing high turnover rates due to young and junior level employees opting to switch jobs after learning the trade of the market. Thus, most of these companies are updating their retention policies or switching to a better employee retention policy sample as well as investing more in retention techniques rather than only focusing on recruitment strategies. For example, Wipro is going all out to retain key talents by offering a retention bonus of 1 lakh. They are also promoting them to managerial and client-facing roles to learn new skills and get market exposure.
Though spending on employee benefits sounds like a costly expenditure, it’s not as expensive as the turnover rates and recruitment processes that organizations end up spending on. Also, not necessarily the new candidate will be as good as your existing or previous employee. Spending on employee benefits is no less a than gamble too, but that again depends on the employee retention policy sample that the organization has drafted to increase employee satisfaction. Let’s not forget employees are an investment. If an organization invests in them, it will eventually lead to an increase in the organization’s growth, whereas investing in recruitment strategies, no matter how good they are or how good a candidate the HR may hire, the expensive training processes and time spent does not guarantee profitable turnovers. Hence, every organization must opt to shift their focus on upgrading the retention policies rather than only investing in recruitment strategies.
Drawbacks of Employment Retention Policy
Employee Retention Policy has its setbacks too. Considering the whole process is no less than a gamble, the stakes are high since the organization is investing in the employees in the long run. It’s a testing time for HRs to point out skilled and under-skilled employees in the organization. And playing bets on the wrong card may result in a huge setback for the company. However, that does not mean that only key talents are to be vouched for retention; there may be employees who are skilled but being less productive due to lack of motivation or appreciation. Though not all employees are going to stay in the company for a long time, it’s important for the HR to scoop out skilled employees, because investing in them will help the organization in the long run.
To conclude on a fair note, employment retention policy may have its setbacks, but it’s a huge advantage for all organizations who are seeking a plan to reduce high turnover rates, attrition rates and to increase employee retention. The happier the employees are, the less likely they will leave. Hence designing an accurate retention policy that adheres to employee needs, meets the objective of the organization and increases productivity is the need of the hour for every organization in India today.
Currently, the world is facing a severe crisis with the outbreak of the COVID-19. The COVID-19 has affected around 150 countries across the world with major effects in countries like Italy, Iran, China, Japan, and the USA, UK, India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Spain and many more.
Around 5 Million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide and the death toll of people affected by the COVID-19 has reached around 3Lac+ as on 20-May-2020. The 2019 novel corona virus has been officially named as COVID-19 by the WHO (World Health Organization) and this disease has also been declared as a global pandemic.
In India, thousands of suspected cases have been tested and 206 confirmed cases have been reported till 20th March, 2020. The first death due to the COVID-19 was reported in Karnataka on the 12th of March. The Indian Government has evoked Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act to deal with the outbreak of this deadly disease.
Major states and union territories in India such as Punjab, Karnataka, Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, etc. have started adopting coronavirus quarantine measures to control further spreading of the disease. This includes closure of malls, gyms, schools, colleges, swimming pools, movie theaters, etc. Common people have been instructed to avoid mass gatherings and have been suggested to make frequent use of sanitizers/hand wash, etc.
Precautionary measures like the use of disinfectants in public transport mean, spraying disinfectants across roads near malls and residential areas, etc. have also been taken by the Government. Common people have been suggested time and again to stay clean and safe.
Continuity of business amidst COVID-19
Amidst all such chaos and adverse situations, the major challenge that is being faced by the different industrial sectors of the country is the continuity of business during the outbreak of a pandemic. Even if the Indian Government has sealed the borders of the country there is no such stringent lock down at workplaces across the country. People are still coming to their workplaces as usual to work and to continue the business. However, the threat of being affected by the dreadful disease haunts the minds of the employees working in various sectors.
In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that their employees are safe during such distressful situations.
1. Work from home for employees
With the Government adopting social distancing as a major step to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, many employers have started to reduce their number of employees reporting at workplaces. Various MNCs, BPPOs, corporate offices and even non-IT organizations across the country have urged their employees to avoid commuting to the workplace and to continue working from home. This is an ideal way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In IT hub Gurugram, the administration has issued advisory to the various MNCs, BPOs and other offices for allowing their employees to carry work from home at least till the end of March. It has also forbidden the gathering of more than 200 people at a particular place to prohibit the spread of COVID-19. The employers at IT companies have started implementing the “work-from-home” model quite conveniently especially for the employers of IT firms in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Around ninety percent of the employers in India believe that it is urgent to provide the employees with an option of remote and flexible work.
Many employers have also asked their respective clients for waivers by which their employees would be able to work from home as some service agreements need to follow a high level of security at the development centers. IT companies and their employers have been preparing for this emergency by upgrading their testing and networking procedures so that more and more employees can avoid coming to the workplace and work from homes. However, some employers feel there might be some clients for whom work would not happen in a protected environment and might lead to loss of revenue.
In addition to the IT industries, employers from many other non-IT firms have also started implementing the work from the home model for protecting their employees from COVID-19. Companies like Volvo, Flipkart, Coca-Cola, Godrej Consumer, Uber, etc. have made it feasible for the employees to work from remote locations. Moreover, many organizations have also suspended all sorts of business travel, domestic and international trips until the conditions are normal again. Any interviews or meetings/conferences can be conducted via telephones rather than a face-to-face meeting.
2. Other precautionary measures for employees
There are many other organizations and firms where it has not been feasible for implementing the “Work from home” model. Companies that form a part of the stock market ecosystems, manufacturing companies, and non-IT firms, other small and medium enterprises have not been able to implement work from remote locations on a wider scale. In these companies, the workforce at the workplace is normal but along with a lot of precautionary measures which are being taken by the employers.
a) Thermal screening of employees
Employers must ensure that the body temperatures of the employees coming to offices are checked before allowing them into the office. Many manufacturing plants and other organizations where the workforce is normal at the office to have made the thermal screening of employees mandatory.
b) Use of disinfectants, sanitizers and hand wash
The use of disinfectants, sanitizers, and hand wash plentifully and regularly is the only way to avoid getting affected with the COVID-19. Employers must ensure that these life savior liquids are available in plenty for the employees and they are aware of the hygienic guidelines. Many companies like Hike, Volvo have made disinfectants and alcohol-based sanitizers available in the bay areas, cafeteria and washrooms so that employees maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
c) Vegetarian food and supply of juices rich in Vitamin C
Some firms have made vegetarian food mandatory in the office cafeteria. Also, fruits rich in Vitamin C such as oranges, guavas and lemons or juices of these fruits are being served in plenty as snacks in the office cafeteria. This is an effective way by which employees can be kept safe from the dangerous effects of COVID-19.
d) Personal protective equipment and N95 masks
Employers must check that employees coming to offices are provided with personal protective equipment, N95 masks, and hand gloves to prevent being affected by the dreadful virus. Also, advisory about the maintenance of personal hygiene can be issued by the employers to make the employees care about hygiene.
e) Continuous training on respiratory hygiene, washing of hands
HR team of the companies can ensure that proper communication emails and training are provided to the employees on hygiene and other precautionary measures related to COVID-19. There can be small online sessions or even face-to-face group sessions providing awareness about COVID-19 and emphasizing the importance of precautions.
f) Free medical consultations through partners in case of any COVID-19 symptoms
Swiggy which is a leading food-tech firm in India has been a pioneer in the COVID-19 awareness drive among its employees. The food delivery partners at Swiggy have been continuously trained about the best practices related to hygiene as well as associated symptoms. Moreover, the firm commits to providing free medical consultation to any delivery partner being affected by the COVID-19. This can be stated as an ideal example of an employer supporting the employees during this dreadful crisis.
With the absence of any proven medication for the very rapidly spreading COVID-19, precaution seems
to be the best cure available currently. During these difficult times, continuity of business is only
possible when there is complete support from the employees. Hence, the safety of the employees must
be of the utmost priority for employers. Employers must ensure that their employees are aware of the
precautions to be taken against COVID-19 and follow the tagline “Stay clean, stay safe”.
Workplace wellness challenges are a great way to keep your employees fit and also to cultivate their loyalty towards your company. Wellness programs that offer perks and benefits are seen to be positive reinforcements that not only help the employee to stay healthy but also develop a lot of positivity among the workforce. Employee wellness challenges are a fun way to keep your workers fit. It is also a good way to build interpersonal relationships between employees. Take a look at this article to know more about the best employee wellness challenges for 2020 and how they can work to your benefit.
1. Walking challenges
As we all know, walking is a great way to stay fit. You could incorporate certain walking challenges. These could happen at a set time, such as over the weekends, or on a daily basis. You can set challenges to make the experience all the more exciting for your employees. For instance, begin with asking them to walk between the buildings or departments at work. The next step would be to encourage them to walk to work.
Expert tip – Provide your employees with fitness bands so that their steps can be recorded. Give rewards to the people who walk the most in a day, a week or a month.
2. Cycling challenges
Cycling is another great way to stay fit. Encourage your employees to use their bicycles to commute to work, instead of driving. This would be a great way to increase their fitness levels and would also help lower the air pollution levels. Offer perks to those who cycle for the most number of hours in a week.
Expert tip – Invest in some bicycles and keep them in your office compound. Tell your employees they are free to use them to commute to and fro work and also to commute to the different departments/branches of the organisation.
For those who insist on driving to work, encourage them to park a bit far away from the office building. Ask them to walk to and from their car to the office every day. This will be a good way to get some basic exercise done, even when they are largely sedentary.
Expert tip – If it is possible, shift the parking area a bit further away from where it is now. If your employees use a public parking space, give rewards to those who park at a lot that’s some distance away.
4. Staircase challenges
Among the easiest employee wellness challenges is the staircase challenge. Ask your employees to simply take the stairs and not the elevator. Discourage or limit the use of the elevator. Of course, this can only work if your office is located on a lower floor. It would not work if you are placed on the 25th floor of a building!
Expert tip – Make this a monthly challenge, wherein the employees who successfully manage to take the stairs each day for an entire month get a handy perk at the end of it. Keep a chart at the top of the staircase where the employees can sign as they finish their daily targets.
5. Nutritional challenges
Healthy living doesn’t just consist of physical challenges – it comprises diet modifications as well. Introduce a nutritional challenge in your office. Encourage your employees to pack their lunches from home to avoid ordering food at lunchtime. Then, if you have a cafeteria, modify the menu and include only healthy food options. The person who orders the minimum amount of outside food by consuming the home/office cafeteria food gets rewarded at the end of the month.
Expert tip – Hire a proper chef who can curate a good menu and offer delicious food at the cafeteria. Unless the food is exciting and tasty, the challenge will fail from your end.
6. Don’t-skip-breakfast challenge
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Encourage your employees to have a hearty breakfast before coming to work. Set up a healthy breakfast bar at the office to encourage them to grab a meal if they didn’t do so at home.
Expert tip – Stock up a fridge with healthy juices, fresh fruits, energy bars, etc that anyone in the office can grab on the go.
7. Hydration challenge
Drinking water is a health necessity that most people ignore. It is also one of the easiest to follow. Encourage your employees to stay hydrated. Offer perks to the department that empties the contents of their water cooler the quickest each day. Staying hydrated has many advantages and this is one of the most basic employees wellness challenges that you must look to introduce.
Expert tip – Offer clean and hygienic drinking water to the employees. Install large water coolers or dispensers in every department.
8. Workout challenges
Working out at a gym or a fitness class is inarguably one of the best and most effective employee wellness challenges. However, due to various reasons, many people shy away from undertaking this challenge. Make it exciting and more approachable for your employees by installing a small gym in the office. If space is a constraint, tie-up with a professional gym, Zumba class, etc. Offer discount vouchers to your employees to encourage them to take up the challenge.
Expert tip – Announce prizes for the “biggest loser” of the month, to honour the employee who lost the most amount of weight by undertaking the workout challenge.
9. Meditation challenges
Mental health and wellness are just as important as physical wellness. Organise meditation challenges to encourage your employees to relax and become stress-free. This will increase their productivity and will keep them happy as well.
Expert tip – Organise Yoga classes in the office. This will be a good way for the employees to meditate.
10. Sporting challenges
Playing a sport can be a great way to stay fit. It is also an excellent team-building method. Begin organising sporting events on weekends. Sports such as badminton, soccer, cricket and tennis can be played by the employees. Divide them into teams, and have them play against one another.
Expert tip – Most cities have local parks and clubs that you can hire to organise the intra-office tournaments in. Make proper arrangements and plan an organisational sporting event every once in a while.
11. Hobby challenges
This is another challenge that can work wonders for the mental wellness of your employees. Ask your employees to pursue hobbies such as baking or painting that they may have wanted to pursue long. A hobby can relax the mind to a great extent and increase the mental alertness levels of the employee as well.
Expert tip – Organise a fun-fate in the office on a weekend. Have stalls where your employees can showcase and sell their hobby-based items such as artwork or bakes.
12. ‘Quit smoking’ challenge
This is one of the most obvious employee wellness challenges. Encourage your employees to quit or reduce their habit of smoking. Smoking is bad in all ways. It affects physical wellness levels. Challenge your employees to quit the habit by offering increasing rewards on a time-basis. An employee will receive a reward if he/she completes an entire smoke-free month. A larger reward will be given at the end of the third smoke-free year and an even larger one at the end of a six-month period.
Expert tip – Make sure the employee has enough support at home. If the spouse smokes too, increase the volume of the reward when both spouses abstain from smoking together.
13. Marathon challenges
Organize small marathons or walkathons for your employees and their family members on weekends or public holidays. Keep the distance short so that it is not a tedious or intimidating event for your employees to consider participating in. Running for two or three kilometers, and preparing for it beforehand, can be an excellent employee wellness challenge.
Expert tip – Make the marathon a complete, day-long event to increase the levels of interest. Have a musical program after the run, or a buffet lunch, to ensure maximum participation.
14. Volunteering challenges
Volunteering is a great way to stay active as well as happy. Encourage your employees to take up volunteering challenges. Offer incentives such as paid-leaves provided the time is used for volunteering. Your employees could work as a team and represent your firm (for example, organise an educational workshop at an orphanage) or pursue volunteering on their own. The aim is to improve their emotional wellbeing, so give them the independence to choose the challenge.
Expert tip – Partner with NGOs so that your employees can easily volunteer their time without having to look for opportunities (provided they want to).
15. Sleep challenges
Sleeping is perhaps the most crucial wellness requirement. It is mandatory for everyone to sleep for 6-8 hours each night. Anyone who sleeps less than that risks a chance of getting high blood pressure, heart ailments and so on. Improper sleep can also result in undue stress and lack of mental alertness. This is why you must encourage your employees to get adequate sleep each night.
Expert tip – Provide your employees with sleep monitors. The employees who get enough sleep can be rewarded at the end of each month.
16. Laughter challenges
Laughter is the best medicine and people who laugh more frequently are said to enjoy stress-free, relaxed lives. Laughter also keeps the mood and atmosphere of the office positive which makes it better and more productive for the employees. Encourage your employees to laugh more. Organise stand-up comedy shows where you either bring in a professional comedian or ask your own employees to participate.
Expert tip – Start a laughter club in the office and encourage your employees to join in in great numbers.
17. Digital detox challenge
Constant exposure to a screen can cause severe headaches, eye-problems, etc for your employees. Prevent this by encouraging them to be screen-free for at least 30 minutes each day at work. Encourage them to step away from their workstations and go for a walk, stand by the coffee machine or converse with their colleagues. A digital detox can be a great opportunity for relaxation.
Expert tip – Ensure you have a fixed time period for the daily digital detox challenge, else your employees may misuse this opportunity and stay away from their workstations for long periods of time.
18. Standing challenge
Sitting at one place for long hours can cause havoc to a person’s spine and posture. Ask your employees to stand for one minute every hour. Alternatively, remove all the chairs and desks from the meeting/conference rooms and have them stand during team meetings. Standing challenges can help improve their overall wellness levels and make them more alert.
Expert tip – Conduct random checks throughout the day and reward the people standing at that time with small perks.
19. Go on a vacation challenge
Taking some time off from work at least once a year is crucial for the physical and mental wellbeing of an employee. Make vacationing compulsory for your employees. Provide compulsory vacation time in the form of paid leave that they have to take. Partner with travel agencies, hotel chains etc to offer discounts in bookings to ensure your employees complete the vacation challenge.
Expert tip – Offer the mandatory leaves to different employees at different times to make sure you have a balance between the employees present and employees absent at all times.
20. ‘Better yourselves’ challenge
And finally, encourage your employees to adopt a wellness regime independently. As an employer, you can encourage them to stay fit by offering the above-mentioned challenges, but their own well being ultimately depends on their efforts and attitudes. Ask them to adopt as many fitness regimes as possible and stick to them diligently to improve their health and happiness quotients.
Employee wellness challenges are an integral part of almost every company these days. A company that has a healthy workforce is bound to drive in more profits. Retaining talented employees becomes easier when the employees feel well and content. Give the above-mentioned employee wellness challenges a try and notice a positive change in your employees. You will be able to keep your employees fit while making the process an enjoyable one for everybody.