Protecting your employees’ general wellness and mental health should be one of the company’s top priorities. Creating a remote employee wellness program, especially in the ‘Work from Home’ era, helps remote employees manage stress levels and improve overall productivity.
Working from home comes with plenty of advantages, both for the employer and the worker. However, it also has its set of challenges, both physically and emotionally. With a lack of social interaction, healthy eating habits, and workplace challenges, many office workers end up being less productive.
There are plenty of workplace wellness activities that offer your employees ways to deal with employee burnout and stress levels to improve their quality of life.
Here are some employee wellness ideas you can include in your employee wellness program for a happier remote team:
Organise virtual team meets
Remote employees often struggle to maintain a work/life balance. Most workers have a blurry line between work life and personal life.
For example, Buffer has both virtual and on-site team meetups for its remote workers. They try to create a high quality virtual experience for remote workers who cannot attend the on-site meet-ups.
Employing an employee wellness program is one way to attract top talent, keep them happy, and decrease absenteeism or employee turnover rates. A healthier alternative to fully remote work schedules would be to organise regular virtual team meet-ups instead.
Here are some ways to make virtual meet-ups more engaging and fun:
- Virtual after-work meets help reduce the feeling of isolation and help improve the relationship between colleagues. Some ways to do this include; book club meetings or fun games like board games or;
- Ramp up appreciation efforts through employee recognition and engagement platforms.
You can do anonymous surveys to help you find out what your employees like and what they’d like to see more, to help you get ideas of what to do in your employee wellness program. Management support and attendance in wellness programs make this level of employee engagement even more successful.
Offer training and necessary tools
The workplace wellness program also includes ensuring that your team has the necessary tools and resources to do their jobs efficiently. This includes a wide range of training employees for specific roles and general skills. For instance, B2B marketing firms can equip their marketing teams with skills such as engaging a guest posting service to improve SEO.
When your team receives the right tools and training that puts them on the cutting-edge, they can confidently do their jobs more efficiently. This happens while also preserving their mental well-being.
The educational content in this program can be delivered through online resources. You can use a webinar, seminar, articles, and videos. The ‘challenge’ piece can be drawn from quizzes on the topics.
Remote employees who have received relevant training are more productive and have improved team communication. They are also able to manage their time and balance their work-life better.
For example, in the 2021 fiscal year, SIEMENS invested 165 million euros in total in their employees’ lifelong learning opportunities. That’s an average of 573 euros per employee training. That’s also an average of 21 hours spent on expanding the employee’s horizons in business, products, and technical subjects.
Create a healthy work culture
The organisational culture influences employee retention, productivity, happiness, and more. So, no matter the position held, employees tend to work better when they feel valued. Having a healthy work culture in an integrated remote employee well-being program helps boost employee morale and participation.
For instance, Hubspot has a very public “no door policy” that gives employees full transparency into everything happening in the company. Its managers also apply a people-centric approach that focuses on employee growth rather than only focusing on the team’s ability to hit quotas. As a result, the company has an average employee rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Glassdoor.
Here are some ways on how to build a healthy work culture in your business:
Develop a transparent work system
Transparency is essential in a healthy work culture.Without it, the organisation appears untrustworthy to its employees, which in turn hurts employee productivity and motivation.To develop transparency you can; promote open communication lines, involve employees in the decision-making processes, or share news both good and bad.
Empowered employees tend to work more efficiently, with less employee turnover. To empower employees, you can do things like, encourage employees to take on responsibilities, and clearly communicate the organisation’s goals.
Encourage employee collaborations
Collaboration in an organisation fosters a sense of community in the company culture. You can achieve this by; encouraging discussions among employees, making teamwork compulsory, etc.
Offer counselling services
The corporate wellness program should also ensure that the employees have a safe space and access to health resources for mental and emotional well-being. Again, this is irrespective of whether they’re in the office space or working from home.
A survey on the mental health of remote workers shows that many employees would be open to participate in virtual mental health and stress reduction solutions if offered at workplaces. Among the mental health solutions that were highly listed were:
- Meditation classes (45%);
- Healthy eating sessions (38%);
- Virtual workout sessions (37%);
- Desktop yoga (32%) and;
- Webinars on mental health (31%).
The survey also shows that remote employees are three times more likely to struggle with mental issues now compared to the pre-pandemic times while going to the office. Many remote workers struggle with a feeling of isolation and loneliness.
Emotional and mental health adversely affect employee well-being and is central in all employee wellness ideas. To look after the team’s mental health, companies should have a space where workers can share their concerns and anxieties.
The corporate leadership should find ways to help them share their thoughts in group sessions or in discrete. For instance, you can offer group online resources to help support mental health and help them interact.
Through this, they get to have some form of interaction to help create some sense of belonging. It doesn’t matter what you’re going to talk about during these sessions, as long as nobody feels isolated or alone.
You could also start a monthly health and wellness club and keep the team active. Then, after some months in, you can decide how many times to have the meetings in the month, what activities to include, etc.
It’s also important that you encourage your team to look after each other and know how to identify isolation and burnout. Employee burnout is another global human resource concern. Some of the signs of remote working burnout include the inability to complete tasks on time, mood swings, physical exhaustion, and the lack of proper sleeping habits.
Contrary to popular belief, passionate employees are not immune to burnout or stress. Instead, you need to help remove the conditions that lead to employee burnout, which include the lack of social support, unclear job expectations, long working hours, and dysfunctional workplace dynamics that discourage employees from taking time off.
With a flexible employee wellness program for your team, you can have regular social web-chats and schedule free consultations. Also, encourage people to take some time off, especially when they need a mental health break.
Companies should consider these healthy habits and employee wellness ideas as a workplace culture, not just recurring well-being programs.
- Encourage remote employees to exercise
Replace in-office benefits with other perks
There’s been an increase in the appreciation of employee wellness and its correlation to productivity in the modern office. Now, the modern office has ping-pong tables, beer fridges, Monday morning yoga meetings, free lunch, etc.
But with remote working, thousands of people now have to work in their homes and apartments. At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, getting the free fruit at work was nobody’s top priority. But since these things were provided for overall employee wellness, they are just as necessary in the new remote working era.
Here are some different ways to offer employee wellness perks to remote workers:
Subscription services to replace office perks
You can replace office exercise sessions with an online equivalent or a gym subscription on credit.
Find virtual perks of equivalent value that employees would love
For instance, you can have a virtual movie session on a Friday afternoon, so your remote workers can disconnect from work early.
Customisable benefits package
You can have a personal benefit budget with a range of perks, then allow your employees to tailor their benefits package according to what suits their own needs.
It’s important to realise that even though your workers are probably working in their pyjamas, they still need overall employee well-being perks to function at optimum productivity.
Create a virtual water cooler
Virtual water coolers are spaces where remote workers can come together to experience those unofficial in-office meetups. Having a virtual water cooler is vital in any employee wellness program.
You’ll need the right tools to create virtual water cooler spaces. For example, Groove uses Slack as its virtual water cooler space platform, for its remote workers to interact or blow off some steam.
Try to keep the chats in the virtual water cooler light and include fun events, like a virtual happy hour. These allow the remote team to get to know the rest of their colleagues outside of work.
Here’s one way to set up your virtual water cooler:
Step 1. Choose the right virtual water cooler tools for your team
There are many software solutions that you could use to facilitate the virtual water cooler platform. Always choose a user-friendly platform that’s convenient to use. For instance, you may use a virtual visual workspace such as Gather.town where employees can design avatars, move their avatars around virtual islands, and engage in open conversation and games with their colleagues.
Step 2. Create personalised invites for the teammates to participate
After settling on the platform, send out personalised invites to the team members. Avoid using professional emails; instead, keep the tone light and engaging. Virtual water coolers should also be open and public for members to pop in and out whenever they want to.
Having more organised events like virtual celebrations and clubs might need more preparation when inviting people. Always find platforms that allow you to send out invitations within the app, and participants can join by clicking a link.
Step 3. Build separate channels and rooms for different teams
Start by building separate channels and rooms for different teams across the company to interact. For example, make sure that people who work together in a department can meet in these virtual water cooler rooms.
In addition, make sure to create virtual spaces where people from different departments can interact to promote collaboration and integration for a strong company culture.
These channels and rooms can be used to discuss day’s events, hobbies, plan events, or just have general chats on regular days. Workplace chatter with a no-pressure social sense yields benefits such as an increase in productivity, and trust between employees. It also helps strengthen team building.
It’s also important that the company leadership joins in or regularly makes appearances to help reinforce the program ideas as a company culture. Company management is the perfect example for employees to emulate. These remote employee wellness programs should go beyond the company’s boundaries.
Employees have different personal cultures and goals, so adopting multiple remote employee wellness program ideas in your company helps cover areas that workers would be interested in. Also, try not to overwhelm your remote employees with too many programs that will in turn wear them out.
All you need to have an effective remote employee wellness program is to make the experience fun and interactive for remote workers. Additionally, organisations should not operate under the misconception that remote employee wellness is only about nutrition and fitness.
A healthy remote employee wellness program revolves around what your remote employees go through in their daily personal lives as well. Remember a happy team makes a happy company, so endeavour to have a happy remote team.
About the Author
Daryl Bush is the Business Development Manager at Authority.Builders. The company helps businesses acquire more customers through improved online search rankings. He has extensive knowledge of SEO and business development.