The workplace is often the largest social network in an employee’s life, where life-long friendships and bonds are often formed. Why not tap into that natural occurrence by creating a “Community of Caring” where employees can look to fellow coworkers for health and wellbeing support.
By creating a “Community of Caring” or “Community of Support” as part of your wellness program, you can connect employees who are dealing with personal health and wellbeing concerns – such as caregiving, diabetes, heart disease, and other issues – with co-workers who have experience in these areas and can give advice and support.
For example, Sue in Accounting just found out she has diabetes and is overwhelmed at what the diagnosis means for her health and her lifestyle. She probably would like to talk to someone about it, someone who has gone through what she is now going through. Wouldn’t it be great if she knew that Connie in Marketing also has diabetes and would be more than willing to chat with her about it?
A “Community” can:
- Reinforce the idea your organization is concerned about employees’ overall wellbeing.
- Strengthen the bonds among team members.
You can create your “Community” by conducting a voluntary survey. Ask employees if they:
- Have experience in any health and wellbeing areas that they would be willing to share with others.
- Want to be included on a published list that would be accessible by any employee or if they would rather have their names and contact information kept private and only given to individuals who directly contact the Human Resources Department for help.
Once employees agree to be involved:
- Make sure they understand any information that employees share is to be kept confidential.
- Create a “Community” policy that outlines when, where, and how employees should talk about the health concern. For example, you may want to limit the conversations to break times or after hours, in private offices/conference rooms, and use personal email accounts for getting in touch.
- Ensure both parties understand and agree to the policy.
Some “Community of Caring” or “Community of Support” areas you may want to consider include:
- New parents
- Weight control or weight loss
- Heart disease
- Smoking cessation
- Sleep apnea
- Gluten allergy/intolerance
- Caregiving for aging family members or family members with chronic medical conditions
Everyone has life experiences to share, and creating a “Community” is an easy, inexpensive way to show employees your organization cares about them and wants to provide resources to help them live their best life. It’s as simple as connecting co-workers through communication.
Communication can – and should – be the cornerstone of your wellness program. For more on that topic, read this FREE eBook, “How to Put Communication First in Workplace Wellbeing,” for expert advice on how to implement a “communications-first” approach at your workplace.
Need help with making your wellness communications be all that it can be? I’m here for you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-334-4094.