Employee self-care is an important factor of the workplace. When people take time to care for themselves, they’re more likely to show up positively in all aspects of their lives, including the workplace. Below we look at how organizations can encourage self-care during the workday and strengthen their culture of well-being. With everything that’s happened the past couple of years, it’s no surprise that people feel burned out, overwhelmed, and just overall physically and mentally exhausted. In fact, right now, employee stress is at an all-time high. As a result, people can’t show up as their best selves in their lives, let alone at work. Here are some ideas to help your organization encourage employees to dedicate time for self-care during the workday.

Make sure your company culture aligns with well-being.
If you tell employees that you want them to spend time on self-care and truly care about their well-being, but your company culture doesn’t match that, your message will fall flat—or worse, you’ll lose your employees’ trust. A culture should always tie back to your organization’s core values and beliefs. It has to act as the backdrop of everything you do—from how people lead to how you treat employees and customers. Once this culture is established, people will feel more comfortable making time throughout the workday to improve their well-being—including self-care.

Empower employees to set boundaries.
Every employee is different, which means their working style may be different as well. Some may need to block time on their calendars to remember to get up and take a real lunch break, while others may block time to do deep focus work without distractions. Others may dedicate family time right at 6:00 and won’t check in on work again until the morning. The point is, setting boundaries can help people take control of their schedules so they can better balance everything they need to accomplish each day. Encourage people to set boundaries that work for them. Then, make sure your culture ensures that others respect those boundaries.

Flexible work arrangements.
People have a lot on their plates these days. A flexible schedule can allow people to make space throughout the workday for walking the dog, picking up kids, going to doctor appointments—whatever they need to get done in their personal lives without stressing about work or fearing any negative consequences. And remember, what works for one person might not work for someone else. So, have managers check in with each person on their team to determine what kind of schedule and flexibility would work best for them.

Promote your benefits.
Your company-provided benefits should have many resources to help people with self-care and ensure that employees know about self-care tools that are available to them, such as: EAP benefits, including free counselling sessions and self-help resources.

Send reminders to take lunch away from their desks.
In an office environment, working during lunch is too familiar. But we know that taking time away from your desk to enjoy your lunch and truly reset and recharge can do wonders in terms of mood, focus and productivity. So if you suspect that your team multitasks during lunch, send reminders and gentle nudges that it’s perfectly okay to take a break during this time so they can come back restored.

Encourage walking meetings.
Again, stepping away from our desks can do wonders. So it’s not surprising that getting a few steps in during the day can also help boost mood and productivity. Have managers check in with their teams over walking meetings—either in person or on a phone call—to help get some fresh air and movement during the day. Co-workers can also take walking meetings with each other to brainstorm and problem-solves.

Rewards and recognition.
Your employees work hard, and they deserve to be recognized. So why not gift them with a self-care experience? For example, additional time off from work, a gift card for a spa day, a free meal or even rewardable points they can use on something that means self-care to them can be helpful and appreciated.

Self-care will always be necessary. And organizations that allow employees to make time for self-care during the workday will be appreciated. In turn, you’ll see a happier and more productive workforce.