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Employers: Make the Most of May

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s also the third month for most state-mandated stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Families, schools, businesses and organizations of all kinds are adjusting to the “new normal” brought by the crisis. Lots has changed, and it’s not over yet. Now is the time to check in with yourself and others. How have your habits changed? How do your habits affect your mood, energy and sense of vitality? It’s time to keep what’s working, recognize what’s not, and make course corrections that prioritize proven improvements to health, wellbeing and cost savings.

With so much change, there is likely to be vastly diverse experiences among employees. Some are no doubt cooking more meals at home, which is associated with lower consumption of calories, fat and sugar. But of course, not everyone will have the energy or means to cook every night. In a survey by market research firm AMC Global, 33% of consumers say they are getting more takeout than before the pandemic. Plus, others might be struggling to balance new responsibilities like childcare or helping elderly relatives – and studies have shown that when we’re stressed, our drive to eat increases.

This makes May the perfect month to draw attention to and reinforce the positive habit changes that employees have made. Doing something for more than a few weeks can create a habit – so don’t wait to call attention to the new routines among your workforce. This can be tricky to do from a distance. Support employees in developing healthy work from home habits by sharing resources with managers and asking them to discuss within their teams. For example, these healthy eating tips recommended by a nutritionist. To stick with the mental health theme, check out our 3 resilience tips for employees.

Don’t forget to take stock of the changes to your workforce and ask yourself the same questions: what’s working, what’s not, and where should we go from here? The changes of this time are also an opportunity to learn from the inevitable trial and error that comes with problem solving. Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, predicts fewer meetings, middle managers and miles of travel in an article for Fortune. Remote work might also widen the talent pool and increase productivity. Start evaluating now so that your team can stay flexible for what’s to come.

Last but not least – science shows gratitude is great for our mental health. Employees have been dealt a lot of change. Spread the gratitude by recognizing employees’ effort and willingness to adapt. It might boost morale and will at least make you feel good! Small gestures go a long way in times like these. Say thank you or “we see you” with an e-card or other token of appreciation.

If you’re curious about how Newtopia can help employees create healthy habit change that is proven to reduce health risk, lower costs with a guaranteed in-year return on investment, email mjackson@newtopia.com.

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