When it comes to your mental health and well-being, it’s important to feel supported and utilize all of the resources available to you, some including benefits provided by your company and even your health insurance. Whether you’ve been with your organization for a while now or if you’re in the process of making a switch, we have workplace wellness advice for you. We turned to Human Resource Officer, Tiara Woods, for questions to ask your HR department (or future organization) as it pertains to wellness.
First off, what is Human Resources and what is HR's function in a company?
Human Resources is a field that is employee-focused. HR professionals have the responsibility of providing customer service to employees while upholding the policies and procedures of an organization. The key functions of human resources are recruitment, compensation and benefits, employee relations, training, and employee engagement.
What are some questions to ask in an interview to gauge how an organization values the mental well-being of its employees?
1. How did your organization adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic?
By asking this question, you will prompt the interviewer to share if there is an organized work from home policy in place. Some companies extended the opportunity to work from home to all employees, others have required employees to work in the office. You can also find out how the organization is supporting employees during the changing times. Some companies provided employees with new equipment to work from home, others like LinkedIn implemented a company-wide week-long vacation to help employees recover from burnout.
2. Do you have wellness programs available for employees?
Wellness programs will vary by organization. Programs available may include yoga classes, complimentary massages, financial wellness programs, the list goes on.
3. How often will a person in this position work after usual hours?
If work-life balance is important to you, asking this question up front is important.
4. Can you please describe the office set-up?
Determine the environment that will help you work best. Ask yourself if it is important for you to sit near a window for natural light, in an open layout where you can communicate with multiple co-workers at a time, or in an office where you can close the door from time to time.
What are questions I should ask the HR department at my current job?
1. May I have a flexible work schedule?
Many organizations provide employees with the opportunity to start work earlier or later than usual business hours. Some organizations have summer hours, where employees have Fridays off. Other organizations will allow employees to create their schedules as long as they work 40 hours per week. HR will be able to tell you if a policy is in place for flexible work schedules, however, the schedule will still need to be approved by your manager.
2. What external wellness programs are available?
Employee wellness is not limited to programs offered by Human Resources. In addition to EAP, organizations often partner with external companies to provide webinars on topics such as how to prevent burnout. If you are seeking more options than the HR department offers, contact your insurance provider. Most providers have discounts on fitness centers, nutrition programs, and newsletters that include wellness tips.
3. Are you open to suggestions?
If you have a program idea, feel free to share it with your HR department. The best way for HR to figure out what employees are looking for is to engage with them. Some organizations have committees for wellness and engagement, where employees from all areas can work together and create new initiatives.
4. Are you able to order an ergonomic chair?
If you are physically uncomfortable at work, your well-being will be affected. If items such as a new chair or a standing desk will help you be more productive during the workday, ask if those items can be ordered by the organization. You will be surprised by what is included in your organization’s budget.
Pictured: Human Resource Officer, Tiara Woods