WellRight offers free wellness program to cope with quarantine

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Employers are encouraging workers to engage in healthy habits to prevent cabin fever during COVID-19 — but they might need a little nudge getting started.

Chicago-based wellness program provider, WellRight, developed a free 90-day program designed specifically to address well-being challenges employees may be facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The offering is available online and includes digital reminders to participate in activities addressing mental, physical, social and work issues. Participants also have unlimited access to coaches who can offer more personalized help. WellRight released the program last week and encourages employers to sign up their workforce to participate.

“A holistic approach to well-being during a time of uncertainty is paramount. We developed this program with specific, actionable goals to increase their overall health and well-being during this time,” says Tad Mitchell, president and CEO of WellRight. “It’s wonderful to be able to help people at organizations stay engaged and productive during this stressful time.”

A report by Psychology Today says humans are naturally wired for resilience in the face of adversity, but having a social support system, eating well and exercising play a significant role in maintaining it. Mitchell says employers ought to invest in programs that help employees cope with the current situation, but he understands many companies may not have the budget for it right now.

“We know employers are doing everything they can to prevent as many layoffs as possible during this time, including cutting back on programs,” Mitchell says. “That’s why we decided to offer employers a solution that doesn’t interfere with that goal.”

During the WellRight program, employees are given a challenge to complete each day. They range from taking a 20-minute walk, asking a coworker to a virtual coffee break and making a list of things you’re grateful for. The program also advises users to limit news and social media intake to quell feelings of anxiety during the pandemic.

“When the world feels chaotic, helping employees stay grounded with small, achievable, daily activities is more valuable than ever,” says Jackie McFadden, vice president of customer success at WellRight. “These activities can lead to healthy habits that will increase their long-term wellbeing and productivity.”

Lynn Zimmerman, WellRight’s vice president of marketing, says she finds the fitness challenges especially helpful for coping with quarantine because being active improves her mood. While it may be difficult for people to work up the motivation to start exercising, small steps can lead to the pursuit of other physical activities, she says.

“I was inspired to take an online yoga class, and was surprised at how easy it was,” Zimmerman says. “It wouldn’t have happened without that little nudge to get up and get moving.”

Mitchell says that as a CEO, he especially values the activities that encourage staff to socialize virtually. Since the shelter in place orders went into effect, Mitchell has set aside time every day to have a virtual conversation with an employee at his company.

“It’s a good retention strategy to be approachable and build relationships with employees,” he says. “It also helps me keep in tune with what’s going on in the company.”

Mitchell says employers should also consider that programs like this aren’t just preserving productivity during the pandemic — they’re setting employees up to hit the ground running once everyone returns to the office. WellRight plans to offer this free program until the shelter in place orders are lifted.

“I think the program is a good opportunity for employers to reach out and tell employees that they care,” Mitchell says. “It’s not just giving [employees] the tools to get through [coronavirus], it’s an opportunity to give them the skills to run at a new pace when everyone goes back to work.”

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