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The parallels between a healthy, happy workplace and productivity are undeniable. Starting with Cadent’s first Wellness Challenge last year, when we saw how engaged employees were when competing to see who could log the most steps in a month, our focus on programs to support wellness has only gained momentum.
Cadent has always been focused on our employees’ well-being. In 2020, along with fun new challenges for employees, we added wellness programs to our benefit suite. We started the year with Biometric Screenings so employees could learn about certain health markers, and if they wanted, take action to improve their health and wellness. We discussed adding gym memberships, but wellness means different things to different people, so we decided that a Wellness Savings Account (WSA) was the best choice for Cadent. Each month, Cadent sets aside money in a WSA for employees to use for a variety of wellness activities such as gym memberships, acupuncture, sleep therapy and nutrition programs, just to name a few.
We were off to a good start! And then, COVID struck. Before we knew it, we were all working from home and isolated from family, friends, and colleagues, working remote with minimal resources, learning new tools, and for some, homeschooling. The mental health effects from social isolation and loneliness, fear and anxiety about the disease and financial concerns began to take their toll. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed one-third of Americans reported showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression in May, and research conducted in mid-July by nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found that 53% of American adults say their mental health has suffered because of the pandemic.
As the weeks passed, we realized this was not a temporary situation and quickly identified the need for balance in this new reality. We recognized that employees were expressing feelings of increased depression and/or anxiety, changes in sleep and eating patterns and worsening chronic health problems. From adjusting to disrupted routines to caring for sick family members, our employees needed support.
A well-rounded program to support employees
We knew we needed to meet people where they were and arm them with ways to address their individual needs. There was not a one stop shop solution.
Our BE WELL campaign started with Cadent sending a gift to our employees consisting of a mask (Be Safe), work out bands (Be Strong), dreamwater packets (Be Rested) and invites to several virtual events hosted by wellness experts and designed to connect us while providing useful information (Be Connected).
Cadent hosted a Virtual Health Fair where employees gathered around the mainstage to hear talks on Resiliency (it’s a super power!), healthy eating and home school and work balance. In addition, there were exhibit booths and a resource library for employees to explore and learn at their leisure. And of course, there were prizes. On Wednesday, we set aside an hour for our Wellness Wednesday Webinars further exploring solutions to help with isolation, anxiety, loneliness and depression; an introduction to meditation; and ways to help improve sleep. And to keep our competitive spirits alive, Cadent hosted another step challenge, and yes, more prizes were awarded!
As we move into 2021, we understand the challenges are not over. As mentioned during our talk on Resiliency, we need an approach to address the long-term rather than the short-term. Therefore, starting January 1, we have enhanced our mental health offerings by providing easy access to affordable mental health care with Teledoc. Additionally, all employees have access to an improved Employee Assistance Program which goes beyond a typical EAP offering. Employees and members of their household can receive up to eight free counseling sessions for each issue with which they may be dealing, they have access to a suite of E-Learning to cope with many of today’s pressing issues, and they can take advantage of the many concierge services offered that provide assistance with what might otherwise be a stressful situation. We know our work is not done, and at Cadent we will continue to strategize ways our wellness program can support employees as we all continue to adapt to our new normal.
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