Staying fit and healthy in lockdown is easier said than done.

Because of COVID-19, gyms and sport centres have closed and many people have been forced to work from home (a little too close to the fridge unfortunately).

People are permitted to leave home to do some daily exercise (providing they adhere to social distancing regulations) but finding the motivation can be a bit harder for some.

This is where companies can help out employees — with COVID-19 friendly wellness programs.

About 64 per cent of organisations already offer a wellness program, but these may need to be tweaked to fit in with the remote working lifestyle people are now becoming more accustomed to.

“For a workplace wellness program to be successful, organisations must ensure that their initiatives are readily available and running smoothly – both in the office and from home,” Chad Lawson, director at recruitment firm Robert Walters, said.

“Importantly, employers must continue to provide support through a robust wellness program during COVID-19.”

Here’s Robert Walters’ four tips for staying fit and healthy (and sane) in this COVID-19 madness — and how employers can lend a hand:


Exercise regularly

Even if you don’t have a home gym it is still possible to exercise.

And Lawson stresses the importance of companies encouraging their employees to keep fit by setting exercise goals and challenges.

“Providing incentives to employees to achieve their exercise goal and even setting up mini challenges amongst team members is a great way to increase morale,” he said.

And to help with self motivation, there are plenty of online workouts popping up.

“Use online resources to practice yoga, HIT workouts and bodyweight exercises,” Lawson suggested.

“There are various free Youtube channels dedicated to COVID-19 type workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own living room.”


Engage with your colleagues

Working at home has its perks — like spending more time with partners, kids and pets.

But it means less face-to-face catch-ups with workmates (and the outside world). Are you talking to the toaster yet?

“COVID-19 has taken away those important connections you have with peers that provide a significant amount of job satisfaction and morale,” Lawson said.

“It is important to find ways to re-introduce that connectivity in the ‘new norm’ of working in isolation.

“This could be having a catch-up video call with your colleague mid-morning over a coffee, arranging a virtual team lunch or Friday drinks over a Zoom call.”


Eat healthy

Lawson says people should not lose sight of their health just because they are now working from home.

“Taking a break away from your computer to eat lunch is hard at the best of times,” he said.

“Consider a 90-minute ‘Fitness Lunch’ that incorporates a workout, mindfulness and a healthy homemade lunch so that you’re properly rested and ready for a productive afternoon.

“It is also important to not undo healthy eating and resist the temptation of excessive caffeine and alcohol throughout the working week.”


Employee assistance programs

Besides exercise and healthy eating, it is also important to have support.

Lawson says companies’ corporate wellness programs should offer confidential support for issues like stress, depression and anxiety even during this period of isolation and working from home.

“Support for employees shouldn’t be just for when they are physically in the office,” he said.

“By providing extra support initiatives, organisations can communicate a certain level of empathy and support for their people, thus boosting satisfaction and confidence between the employer and the employee.”