Guest Contributor

3 Ways to Promote Employee Self-Care Through HR

By | Sheryl Wright

The HR department has the power to both hire and retain the right employees for a business. HR can even help employees practice self-care, a move that will keep an employee’s work and personal life more balanced. Here are a few ways your HR department can accomplish this.

Health Initiatives

Work performance can be severely affected when an employee’s mental or physical health takes a dive. That’s why it’s important for the HR department to develop and implement health initiatives that keep employees well.

HR can offer programs to monitor the health of employees and help them take action when something needs to be improved. A baseline reading of health data for each employee can be collected at the beginning of employment so employees can see how they progress over time. HR can also create optional team or company-wide breaks for meditation or to play games with each other or just relax.

Some HR departments even offer devices that track workouts, while others may encourage employees to track their eating and sleeping habits and compete for prizes. Friendly competition among coworkers can also help everyone keep their focus on their health goals. HR can spearhead the program and send out reminders so employees stay on course throughout the challenge.

People often need a push to take care of themselves, and having a health plan at work is a great way to offer accountability. HR can even encourage businesses to go a step further by providing access to facilities that will help employees eat well and stay active.

Create a Space

Regardless of how the office is set up, the HR department should prioritize finding a space for employees to detox from stress. A room that offers a calm environment for meditation, unplugging, and stress release can go a long way in helping employees recharge their brains while still at work.

These spaces are different than typical break rooms because they are set aside for self-time instead of socialization. They can be tech-free places to simply look at something besides a screen. HR can encourage employees to utilize these spaces when they are stressed, stuck, or simply in need of a recharge without worrying about looking lazy or off task.

There are even outsourced hiring management companies that can help businesses figure out how to create spaces and practices that help employees thrive. Employees who don’t take enough breaks can experience burnout at a much higher rate, especially in the constantly “on” society we now inhabit. Creating an actual space for employees to utilize simply to relax is a great way for HR to encourage people to rest their bodies and minds when needed.

Encourage Boundaries

It’s easy for employees to feel they are never truly away from work. Devices that let us access work emails and files from home further blur the line between time off work and time on call. HR can help an employee practice self-care by making sure boundaries are set within each department so employees know they do not have to be on call for work when they are off work.

Some managers do a good job of making sure their employees get breaks from work culture, but HR has the power to make sure that managers who fail at this don’t get away with it. A strong policy from the HR department that outlines employees’ rights to be off and ignore work when they are home helps drive the entire business in the right direction. It can even be explained as a part of the welcome and training program when employees are hired.

Without boundaries between work and home, self-care becomes difficult. The constant distraction of checking emails, voicemails, and other work messages keeps employees from truly relaxing and enjoying their time away from the job. Some employees might even hesitate to do things that help them care for themselves, like hike somewhere out of cell phone range, because work keeps them tethered even when they are off.

Another part of boundary setting is making sure employees take their vacation time. HR can remind employees that this time needs to be utilized and help ensure managers don’t discourage employees from taking it.

HR has the power to create a place where employees can thrive. Self-care is the key to making this happen since it keeps employees healthy in a holistic way.

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