Tag: wellness

How to Help Your Employees Combat Zoom Fatigue

Employers have had to adapt, working harder to communicate wellness opportunities, benefits information, and providing what employees need most right now. 

With the rapid change to remote and flexed work environments, businesses have turned to technology to resolve communication gaps. Since some employees are no longer meeting in person, they’re becoming Zoom experts. 

A new phenomenon is emerging with video conferencing like Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams termed as Zoom fatigue. Employers now have the challenge of helping employees recognize and combat zoom fatigue to optimize productivity. 

Recognize Zoom Fatigue

Online meetings are more tiring than face-to-face meetings for multiple reasons. Employees must make more of an emotional effort to appear interested and engaged. The focus on online eye contact puts individuals on high alert and is exhausting. Here are some telltale signs to recognize Zoom fatigue. 

Symptoms of Zoom Fatigue

Zoom fatigue symptoms include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion
  • Eyestrain or sore eyes
  • Low productivity
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Pessimism

Employees experience emotional exhaustion and have reduced motivation. The fatigue goes beyond the pandemic and Zoom to include visual and social fatigue. Some may even experience a feeling of “tech invasion.” Assisting employees to recognize that these symptoms stem from too much time spent in online meetings is important and will affect both their work and personal lives. 

Cognitive Overload

Without the use of non-verbal cues during a video conference, employees may experience cognitive overload. When too much thought is put into a task, because we can only see individuals’ faces, expressions are exaggerated and employees must work harder to understand the body language of co-workers. 

When we stare at the screen in a meeting, we work harder to maintain eye contact. Additionally, the psychological stress of staring at ourselves all day long has negative consequences for our mental health.  

Addressing Zoom fatigue in the workplace to prevent depression-like symptoms and can cause employee burnout is a must. Cornerstone Insurance Group can assist with educating your employees on recognizing Zoom fatigue and introduce ways to combat it. 

Combat Zoom Fatigue

Zoom meetings are necessary for teams to collaborate in today’s workplace environment, but employers can encourage employees to take certain steps to avoid spending all day on a video call to prevent Zoom fatigue. 

Turn off Self-View

It is not always possible, but when it is, encourage employees to turn off their cameras. Without the video component, employees do not have the expectation of forcing a continual smile or keeping constant eye contact. Additionally, this diminishes the heightened emphasis on facial cues which contributes to intense personal emotional reactions. 

Avoid Multitasking

Encourage employees to stop multitasking and dedicate all of their attention to the video call and conversation, then they are not caught off guard causing increased and unnecessary stress. Zoom calls can already be mentally overwhelming without adding additional side tasks or distractions.  

Follow an Agenda

Meetings with shared agendas are more efficient and more likely to end on time, giving employees eyes a rest from constant screen time. Zoom meetings should be scheduled and not impromptu when possible, so an agenda with clear objectives will necessitate the interaction. 

Instead of hosting a Zoom meeting for a quick question, instill collaboration through alternative methods of communication and clear policies to prevent Zoom fatigue.

Use Collaborative Notes

A shared document or non-video collaboration can help prevent Zoom fatigue from setting in, by helping reduce the level of intensity employees from spending too long staring into others’ eyes and being on video conference high alert.

Collaborative notes, like with Google Documents or a messaging application like Slack, allow employees to work together and provide feedback to each other without the constant video interaction.

If you’re struggling to come up with a solution that works for your workplace, Cornerstone Insurance’s human resources specialists can help you establish and implement policies to assist your team.

Focus on Employee Wellness

Employers need to make sure they have the appropriate policies in place to support the physical and mental well-being of all employees. Cornerstone Insurance Group can guide you in encouraging your employees to make small changes to combat Zoom fatigue. 

With our help, you can train your employees on ways to stop fighting Zoom fatigue and develop safe practices that lead to better communication and more productivity. Cornerstone Insurance Group focuses on improving the wellness of each and every employee in all types of work environments. Let us help you create a custom plan catered to your team and your work environment.

Cornerstone Insurance Group can help you help your employees combat zoom and pandemic fatigue to create happy, healthy and productive teams. Contact us today.

COVID-19 Vaccination Programs in the Workplace

Now that eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine has expanded to all U.S. adults, many employers are trying to determine the best ways to disseminate vaccine information as well as face the decision of whether or not to hold in-workplace vaccination programs.

If you’re an employer considering holding a COVID-19 vaccination program, here is some additional information from the Employee Wellness team at Cornerstone Insurance Group that may help you in your decision.

Who Should Hold a Vaccination Program On-site?

While employers should strive to make vaccine information accessible to all employees, many workplaces should think about holding programs on-site. 

You may consider an on-site program if:

  1. A large number of your employees work on-site with regular schedules.
  2. You’re able to enroll within your jurisdiction’s immunization program as a vaccination provider (this may include conducting appropriate training).
  3. You have a workplace that’s large enough to accommodate a clinic while maintaining social distancing each step of the way.

How Do I Plan an On-Site Vaccination Program?

If you’re planning to hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at your workplace, there are a few tasks you need to prepare ahead of time:

Contact the Health Department

Your local health department will have the resources and information you need to set up the clinic properly and within guidelines. They can also offer guidance on how to make it efficient as well as eligibility requirements.

Consider Partnering with a Vaccine Provider

There are likely many vaccination providers in your community that help run events just like this one. They typically deliver worksite flu vaccination services but many have expanded their offerings to include COVID-19 vaccinations. These providers have trained nursing staff available, can take care of billing insurance for any administration fees and can also take care of reporting your workplace’s vaccine administration data to immunization registries.

Vaccination partners should also be aware of the warning signs of vaccine reactions, such as anaphylaxis.

Provide Easy Employees Access to Vaccines

If you’re thinking about hosting a vaccine clinic at your workplace, make sure it’s a day and time during which the majority of employees can attend (i.e. during work hours). You should also be mindful to make vaccine access easy for all employee types, whether they’re full-time, part-time, contractor or temporary. 

In addition, consider offering more than one opportunity for employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Mobile clinics should be able to return to your workplace multiple times on a rotating schedule.

What About Off-Site Vaccination Programs?

If your workplace is not eligible to host an on-site clinic — or if it’s not feasible or the best option — you might consider hosting an off-site vaccine program. This is also a good option for companies that:

  • Are small or midsize
  • Have mobile or remote employee populations
  • Have workers with varying schedules
  • Have a majority of employees who would prefer a community-run clinic than one in the workplace

If you’re planning an off-site vaccine program, you may consider working with a mobile vaccination clinic to set up at a community location. You can also work with pharmacies that are enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy program, or local healthcare provider offices and health centers. 

How Can I Encourage My Employees to Get the Vaccine?

Whether your workplace is able to host a clinic on-site, partners with a community clinic or cannot do either, there are many ways in which you can encourage your employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • Allow employees to get vaccinated during work hours
  • Educate employees with the resources and information they need to know how, when and where they can get vaccinated as well as what they need to bring
  • Identify any potential barriers that are unique to your workforce that may prevent team members from getting the vaccine
  • Encourage your leaders to be vaccine champions and communicate with employees

Building confidence in the vaccine increases the likelihood of your workplace returning to a more normal state of being. Healthy workers are happy workers!

Still have questions about holding vaccinination programs through your workplace? Let the wellness specialists at Cornerstone help. Contact our team today.

How to Cope With Stress in Uncertain Times

COVID-19’s impact on all of our lives has been wide-reaching and challenging. Beyond the virus’s physical effects on the body, the pandemic has caused extreme stress. Whether it’s the anxiety of losing a job, not being able to see friends, losing loved ones or simply grieving the loss of normal times, everyone handles these difficulties in different ways.

While public health measures to get the pandemic under control continue to take place, there are things you can do to ensure your mental wellness doesn’t suffer.

The Impact of Excess Stress

It’s no secret that stress can cause a number of issues, including:

Shift in Feelings

Those who are experiencing high levels of stress may experience fear, sadness, frustration and anger more frequently.

Lack of Energy and Appetite

Changes in appetite are not uncommon, as is the lack of desire to do things one once enjoyed. 

Trouble Concentrating

Stress can consume the mind, causing an individual to lack focus in their day-to-day life.

Difficulty Sleeping

Good rest is one of the best ways to restore your brain and body after stressful days, but those who have consistent stress may find it difficult to get to sleep and sleep well.

Increased Use of Substances

One of the greatest risks of enhanced stress levels is the increased likelihood of someone turning to tobacco, alcohol or drugs to cope.

Other Physical Responses

Headaches, body aches, gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations are all common physical manifestations of stress.

Healthy Methods for Coping with Stress

There are several actions you can take to manage current stress and better handle future anxiety and frustrations.

Take A Break

Often a coping mechanism for stress is to fill your time even more, but one of the best things you can do is to rest. Put down your phone and know your limit with the news. Disconnect from social media and your TV regularly. Make sure you’re building in time to your day to enjoy things you like.

Maintain a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regimen

It can be easy to turn to junk food and a sedentary lifestyle when life is overwhelming. But if you can make an effort to eat well-balanced meals, exercise regularly — whether it’s a 5K, a yoga class or a walk around the block — and get plenty of sleep, your body will thank you. 

Connect with People

One of the many byproducts of stress is that it can cause some people to retreat inward. While it can be difficult to connect with others in this age of social distancing, take time to regularly call a friend or go on a distanced walk with a neighbor. Even starting meetings early to talk with coworkers can boost your spirits.

Talk to a Professional

If the above methods are not adequate, or your stress is interfering with your ability to live a fruitful life, please reach out to your healthcare provider or visit Psychology Today to find a therapist near you. 

How Employers Can Help Stressed-Out Employees

Employers can, and should, proactively address the stress experienced by their teams. Some of the ways you can do this are by:

  • Recognizing the challenging time we’re living in.
  • Offering mental health resources and benefits.
  • Reiterating the importance of taking breaks or PTO.
  • Encouraging employees to ask for help. 

Employees will feel more valued if their companies acknowledge the challenges that exist and the stress everyone is feeling.

For more wellness resources, be sure to follow along with Cornerstone’s blog. If you’re looking to expand your company’s wellness and benefits, contact Cornerstone today.

Returning to Work Post COVID-19

As more and more states begin to loosen their stay at home restrictions, the question many business owners have right now is, “When can we get our employees back to work, and how do we do so, safely?” Many companies were able to transition to a remote working environment and subsequently have seen their employees really step up to the plate and become very productive working from home. As a result, numerous businesses are making the decision to allow their employees to continue to work from home even as regulations begin to allow a return to work. St. Louis County specifically stated that if a business has been able to efficiently operate remotely, they should consider allowing employees to continue to work from home for a little longer.

Getting Back on the Job

However, not all businesses can operate remotely and may be eager to get their employees back to work as soon as possible. First and foremost, those businesses must follow the protocol outlined in the applicable reopening guidelines as directed by their states or counties. This could include limited staff or patrons in the building, or enhanced cleaning and employee health screenings. In order to effectively follow these guidelines, employers may choose to allow employees back in waves, or stagger office hours, thus, limiting the exposure each employee has to other coworkers. This may be a great solution for the manufacturing industry where employees work closely to one another.

Safety and Sanitization

Not only may enhanced sanitization be required, it can also help ease employee’s minds when returning. Sanitizing shared or frequently used work surfaces multiple times per day will help reduce potential exposure to the virus. We recommend providing access to hand sanitizer or hand washing stations for employees. Many companies are requiring all employees who return to work, wear masks and/or gloves to help protect themselves. Though it is not a requirement, it’s recommended that if the organization is requiring employees to wear masks and gloves, those should be supplied by the company. Furthermore, management should also consider putting new policies in place for all employees returning to work, so staff is aware of these expectations and mandates prior to returning to work.

Health Screenings and Considerations

As businesses reopen, they may be required to perform daily health screenings under applicable legislation, or they may choose to do so in an effort to protect staff. These screenings can include daily health questions to confirm the employee is not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 and has not been around anyone with those symptoms. It could also include taking the temperatures of staff or visitors. This may cause an issue with privacy concerns, so employers should take great caution with those administering these tests and protecting the data. Employers do have the right to refuse work to anyone who is sick with COVID-19-like symptoms.

Adjustment Period

The environment employees are returning to may look very different from the environment they left a few months ago. The dynamic in the office will be a little foreign and helping employees get back into the swing of things and adjusting to the changes, is important. Reminding and enforcing guidelines on sanitization, masks, social distancing, and health screenings can help ease concerns of employees apprehensive of returning. However, there may be employees who are simply too scared to return, and these situations should be handled carefully. Overall, employers should strive to provide peace of mind to know staff and remind them the primary concern is employee safety.

As we continue to navigate this uncharted territory as a society, we will start to learn more about what works best and create new best practices for our businesses. Below are some helpful links from the CDC and OSHA that will help you make informed decisions on how to proceed with safely opening your businesses and getting back to work. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

https://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html#c19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-small-business.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

How To Support Your Employees in a Time of Uncertainty

WellnessTo say these are uncertain times is an understatement. COVID-19 has our nation on edge and your employee’s well-being and safety is your top priority.  Many employees are teleworking for the first time, isolated from co-workers, friends and family.  Disruption of their daily routine can cause anxiety and stress – physically, mentally, and financially.  It is imperative that business owners and managers step back, remain calm, and show support for their employees.
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