Virtual Wellness: Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Pandemic with Lucy Bennett-Baggs, Founder & CEO of Just Challenge

June 4, 20202:29 pm3871 views
Virtual Wellness: Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Pandemic with Lucy Bennett-Baggs, Founder & CEO of Just Challenge
Virtual Wellbeing: Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Pandemic with Lucy Bennett-Baggs, Founder & CEO of Just Challenge

The sudden shift to the “new normal” creates a new level of complexity for employers and HR leaders when it comes to taking care of employees’ wellbeing. Studies have found that these feelings of struggle and stress are not signs that ones are unwell or ‘broken,’ but they are signs that something important needs attention. Providing wellbeing knowledge, tools and support in response to these needs would enhance employees’ learning and growth. 

Business leaders are urged to find new ways to support and engage employees, build community and positively increase the wellbeing of their teams. But what are the perfect “new ways” employers can adopt that result in a win-win from both employees and employers? Lucy Bennett-Baggs, Founder and CEO of Juts Challenge, discusses the secret to make this happen. Read more…

As an aspiring leader, what is your secret sauce to maintain and keep your team engaged in times of crisis like today? 

For me, communication is absolutely key. Proactive and meaningful conversations with each of your team members, and simply asking how they are, can be very powerful in maintaining moral and engagement across teams. As a leader, it can be very easy to become wholly consumed by the stresses and pressures of dealing with this crisis – and it’s really important we carve out time to check in with our teams – in a meaningful way. Everyone has their own battles at the moment and whilst, as a leader, yours may feel overwhelming, it’s important to remember that others will be feeling overwhelmed too.

My secret sauce – try and keep having fun as a team. Whilst it might feel like doom and gloom at the moment, there are so many ways to still have fun with our teams virtually. From team Olympics, pub quizzes, live yoga classes and virtual birthday parties – it’s really important to facilitate informal time with your colleagues – and try to smile and laugh occasionally.

During an unprecedented crisis, what are the effective ways to bring people together and improve company dynamics?

At Just Challenge Wellness, we provide corporates with a platform, full of leading expert content to better employees holistic wellbeing. However, providing the content on its own is simply not enough. We are reliant on Organisational Leadership to be championing employee wellbeing, ensuring that employees do carve time out of their day to commit and engage in this. Company dynamics will only shift if directed from the top, and having Wellbeing Champions throughout Leadership Teams is more important than ever before.  

According to Bevan et al. study, many individuals reported unhappy and unable to maintain a healthy work-life balance at home. What is your tip to overcome this problem and keep employees engaged with their job?

For me, the most important part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance at home is self-discipline and structure. I think creating a routine to your day and being disciplined in sticking to it is key. COVID-19 and work from home has removed a physical office for many of us – but this blurs the lines as to what is work – and what is not. The boundary between work and play should be the hours you carve out for work – and when you’re not within those working hours, you are enjoying time invested in your wellbeing, family and/or friends. It’s really important to be disciplined in this respect, to ensure that you’re not burning out.

Video meetings have been highly encouraged today, which might result in fatigue and indifferent feelings. How should leaders make virtual meetings more engaging and interesting? 

Unfortunately, I think this is probably the new normal and it will just take some getting used to. There is sometimes a fatigue and indifferent feeling when it comes to physical meetings too! I think it’s important to keep meetings as short as possible – and ensure you have breaks between your Zoom meetings. It’s easy to fall into a trap of having four hours of back to back video calls, without a moment for a break, having stared at a laptop screen all day. Ensure you carve out at least 5 minutes between the calls – even if to simply move about. Starting the meeting in an informal way – and asking people how they are, and how their weekends were, is always a nice place to start.

As outdoor physical activities are restricted amidst the physical distancing campaign, what are good virtual wellness initiatives employers can adopt to help employees stay engaged and healthy?  How effective will this wellness programme be?  

I think the most important place to start is to provide employees with the tools to stay engaged and healthy. The wellbeing space is incredibly cluttered when it comes to advice – and it’s important that as a business, you provide your employees with both credible and qualified content, and solutions, to better their wellbeing. The effectiveness of any wellbeing campaign depends on leadership and distribution of content. If investing in your wellbeing is positioned as compulsory by leadership, engagement is likely to increase significantly.

How does a platform like “Just Challenge Wellness” help in this situation? 

Just Challenge Wellness is a digital platform, designed for corporates, providing employees with access to content developed by world-leading experts. Branded to our corporate clients, the platform provides employees with a centralised hub of wellbeing content, complemented with a series of live sessions from our experts. The content, varying from video tutorials to podcasts, webinars, e-learning and downloadable guides, is housed within 10 key modules of holistic wellbeing – covering nutrition, exercise, yoga, sleep, mental wellbeing, mental health awareness, mindset and performance, living sustainably and making a difference. It is a fantastic and incredibly flexible platform, providing a centralised solution for corporates wishing to give their employees the tools to better their wellbeing – whether that be from home or from the office.

Lastly, what is your advice for leaders to help their employees achieve personal gains while #stayathome?

Firstly, as a leader, I’d question what tools you have in place to help employees realise their wellbeing ambitions. If there are gaps, now is the time to fill them. Ultimately, businesses are made up of people – when the storm does pass, those that have continued to invest in their people and purpose will thrive, and those that haven’t, will be left behind.

At a time like now, businesses need to identify those gaps and ensure they are giving employees the right tools to be able to achieve personal gains whilst staying at home – though this alone is not enough. Leadership Teams need to encourage engagement in these programmes and ensure that each employee is carving out time to invest in their personal wellbeing. For me, acquiring the right tools is the first step, and driving this from the top is the second.

Read also: Important Corporate Wellness Trends to Watch in 2020

About Lucy Bennett-Baggs:

Lucy Bennett-Baggs is Founder & CEO of Just Challenge. When formerly working at HSBC for 7 years in Sponsorship, Marketing and Events, Lucy organised major challenges across the Sahara Desert and the Gobi Desert for their employees, raising over 500,000 USD for charity. Lucy passionately felt more brands could benefit from such experiences. In 2017, Just Challenge was born. Her vision was to create a platform for clients to drive employee engagement, corporate social responsibility, client relationships and develop leaders in a truly unique way.

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