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Health has been on everyone’s mind for the last year. Most people have been thinking about the physical, hoping to stay healthy enough to fend off illness. They’re also trying to “stay safe” and avoid getting sick in the first place.

The shift out of the office to remote work has also put a new focus on mental and emotional health. Lockdowns might mean some people can’t get outside, and most people aren’t socializing the way they were. After all, they’re not going to the office and gatherings are pretty much off the table.

Going forward, remote work will likely stay in some form, even as offices reopen. The focus on health isn’t likely to disappear overnight either.

What employers should do now is provide their team with the tools they need to stay mentally and physically healthy. It’s time to adopt some new wellness tools for your team.

What Are Wellness Tools?

Wellness tools take a few different shapes these days. Some are tracking apps, which can help your team monitor their weekly exercise sessions or how well they’re hydrating. Tools that help them track their diet, monitor sleep quality, and more could also be considered “wellness tools.”

Other tools might help them track their mood or engage in self-care, like taking breaks or making sure they’ve done something enjoyable for the day. Other apps might give them tips for mental health. Yet other tools could provide a guided meditation—even if it’s only five minutes long.

Other apps can connect them with healthcare professionals in a variety of ways. Telemedicine tools assist your team members in scheduling virtual doctor appointments. This is great for anyone working in a remote location, as well as for lockdowns. Even afterwards, people can connect with healthcare providers when they need to talk to them, without necessarily having to take time off to get to the doctor.

Telemedicine can also support mental health, as team members could meet with counsellors, therapists, and other mental health professionals.

How to Support Your Team

The first step in helping your team protect their mental and physical health is offering them access to wellness tools.

You might want to offer just one or two tools. Telemedicine is usually an excellent choice, but you should offer more if you can. You could offer coverage for a much wider variety of wellness tools, such as meditation apps and fitness trackers, if you use a flexible benefits plan.

If you already included benefits like healthy lunches provided at the office or wellness seminars, then you may be able to use the funds for those initiatives to provide a wider variety of tools your team can use outside the office as well.

Next, inform your team that they have access to wellness tools. It’s not enough to put telemedicine in the benefits package. You’ll need to tell the team about it and give them instructions on how to use it.

You’ll also want to add tools that let you track adoption. You probably don’t want to track how often each individual team member uses their meditation app. Tracking that kind of statistic could be a privacy issue. You do, however, want to know that the team is making the most of the tools you provide. You can track measurements such as number of downloads or even number of sessions across the entire group. That could give you some insight into how aware your team is, as well as how useful they find they benefits you’re offering.

Rethink Your Benefits for the Future

Wellness tools aren’t the only new idea you can add to a more flexible benefits package for your team. As you re-examine what the office of the future looks like, you’ll want to rethink benefits—and employees wellness and happiness—too.

We’re here to help. Our expert team has plenty of experience with helping business owners and HR managers make the switch to better, more flexible benefits for their teams. Get in touch with us today and discover what the future of your benefits could look like.

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Lisa Curic

Lisa brings almost 30 years of experience to her role as the executive vice president at GroupQuest Benefits Resources Inc. She has worked for several different insurance businesses and co-founded a group benefits MGA in 2006. Lisa’s dedication and hard work has played a significant role in growing GroupQuest from two to over 40 employees in less than 10 years, and in making it one of the largest group benefit MGAs in Canada. Outside of her busy work schedule, Lisa enjoys reading, travelling, working out, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two children.

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