How to strengthen employees’ support networks to improve their Whole Health
July 2021   WHOLE HEALTH

How to strengthen employees’ support networks to improve their Whole Health

When it comes to improving employees’ holistic health, the first thing that often comes to mind are initiatives to encourage physical activity or adopting a balanced diet, to name just a few examples.
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But a key element that is often overlooked is employees’ occupational well-being. Companies can play a key role in helping to strengthen their employees’ support networks, by doing their bit to combat the growing problem of loneliness. Keep reading and find out how!

When devising a health and well-being programme geared towards employees’ holistic care, it is very important that HR managers consider just how important social relationships are in and outside the workplace. This is because each employee’s social circle is one of the main pillars which their Whole Health is based on. Having strong emotional ties provokes positive emotions that influence their physical and mental well-being and, by extension, their motivation and productivity.

It is, therefore, especially important that companies help to strengthen each of their employees’ support networks – especially at the moment. This is because health recommendations and restrictions implemented as a result of the pandemic have made it more difficult to make new friends or continue existing friendships. And other priorities, such as work obligations or looking after children or dependent family members, have meant that relationships have taken a back seat.

It is also important to remember the impact of the pandemic in terms of increasing loneliness. In recent months, we have seen how social isolation has had a dramatic effect on the well-being of many people, particularly the elderly. Feeling lonely plays a key role in people’s physical and emotional well-being, which is why organisations must consider the importance of protecting their employees’ emotional ties, by promoting measures to target this.

At Cigna, we are aware of this situation and, as an expert in health solutions, we have developed innovative solutions to support organisations when strengthening their employees’ support networks. You can read about them at this link. This Whole Health approach means employees can see how their holistic health and well-being improve as a result of creating strong emotional ties.

In addition to the state-of-the-art services that are part of Cigna's Whole Health approach, here are some ideas that can be put into practice by any organisation to help its employees enjoy fulfilling social relationships. Take note!

  • Put the emphasis on initiatives that enhance team communication and collaboration

The key is that employees feel motivated both in and outside the company, by building meaningful relationships with those around them. And this, of course, also means between colleagues. That is why it is very good to promote team building activities or coaching sessions to strengthen emotional ties and teach how to manage potential conflicts that arise every day. It is important to remember that each employee perceives their surroundings in a different way, which is why it is vital to place emphasis on communication and teaching them how to manage any emotions that may be stirred up in the workplace.

  • Promote a healthy lifestyle

Promoting actions to encourage a healthy lifestyle is also an excellent way to improve employees’ occupational well-being. Setting sport challenges for groups to take part in and encouraging team sports or group meditation sessions are some ways to achieve this dual purpose. If you are unsure where to start, we recommend carrying out a health and well-being assessment with your employees to find out which areas for improvement could be strengthened. Contact us to find out more about these programmes. We can help you!

  • Encourage employees to switch off

Nurturing personal relationships requires quality time. That is why employees who find it difficult to manage their working hours and are unable to disconnect from their work may have greater struggles when it comes to maintaining their support network. It is therefore crucial that companies provide tools that help to resolve this problem and resources to promote good time management.

  • Promote the humanisation of technology

As a result of new working arrangements, employees, in many cases, are no longer together in the same physical space. This should not, however, weaken the support networks created between them. That is why it is more important than ever to work on the humanisation of technology to strengthen interpersonal relationships and connections between colleagues. This will make them feel motivated and improve their sense of belonging.

In conclusion, caring for employees’ Whole Health means considering all the aspects that affect their well-being (e.g. their family, physical and mental health, work, financial health, support network and access to care). They are all equally important, as they are all interconnected: an imbalance in one could affect the rest. That is why it is important that organisations are aware of the impact of loneliness and how to help improve the occupational well-being of their teams.

To find out all what Cigna can do to help you look after your employees’ holistic health, visit our Whole Health Hub, where you can find everything to start looking at the full picture of health within your company.

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