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COVID-19 & Social Isolation: How WELCOA Is Helping You Connect

BY: Sara Martin, MS // Chief Operations Officer • WELCOA

WELCOA deemed 2020 the year of social connection because we know there is an important link between our relationships and our health, and we felt compelled to spend a year providing health promotion professionals with the best possible information about how they can leverage the power of social support and connection to improve the lives of their employees. When we made that commitment, we could not have dreamed we would be facing a worldwide pandemic, for which the main prevention strategy would be social isolation. The more physically healthy we are, the more resilient our bodies will be to the spread of this virus, but physical health requires a sense of belongingness and social connection—and our strategies for the global spread of the virus require that we band together, though separated. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 requires a whole-systems approach—from the resources we provide individuals, to the precautions taken by employers, to ensuring clear and accurate communication, to personal and community-led responsibility.

So what is the role of the employer? For now, this is a very new reality for all of us, and it is hard to know what our first steps should be. As health promotion professionals, we know your organization is looking for answers when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus and keeping employees’ bodies and minds as strong and resilient as possible. Employee wellness is our job—so how do we do that job well when faced with this unprecedented challenge? The answer is that we are going to do it together. WELCOA believes that the guiding principles for supporting health and well-being are, above all, strategic, systematic, compassionate and empathetic. That is how we developed our 7 Benchmarks that guide thousands of organizations’ wellness strategies today. In kind, reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our organizations and communities will require leaders and stakeholders worldwide to be guided by those same principles. And all aspects of human wellness and thriving will need to be considered.

We recognize the intense responsibility that now falls on your shoulders, but the good news is that WELCOA has been doing this work with our partners for over 30 years, and we have your back. We will be working with our members to ensure that they have the support and resources they need. We are starting with resources for self-care for you, the wellness professional. And we will also be creating resources that dive deeper into many of the areas that impact your employees and organization. From helping employees reduce and manage their anxiety through uncertain times, to helping them maintain and adapt their wellness practices to keep their bodies as strong as possible, to taking inventory of current wellness resources, to addressing issues of loneliness and isolation.

This is just the beginning. And the impact of how we manage this pandemic will likely change how we design organizations and work indefinitely. In the months to come, as the full impact of COVID-19 on work begins to materialize, WELCOA will continue to develop resources that support organizations in addressing all aspects of employee wellness and organizational performance. Just for today, know that we are all making this transition from disbelief to action together. We all belong to this world, and we will all be taking steps to address this pandemic with compassion and empathy. During this year of social connection, we are all in it together.

Sara Martin
Sara Martin, MS // Chief Operations Officer • WELCOA

Sara has launched award-winning wellness programs and engineered work environments to create cultures of health across multiple industries. At WELCOA, her role is to ensure you continue to have access to the best products and information so you can achieve your professional and personal wellness goals.