Remote work has become a standard practice for many organizations. The pandemic has managed to accelerate the idea of working from home and has caused many employees to prefer it compared to the office. While remote working does provide both the employee and company with several benefits, it does introduce some other downsides. One of the many challenges business leaders face is employee wellness.
Protecting your remote workers' physical and mental health is a necessity to ensure they remain productive and efficient. However, wellness should be more than that. Remember that these are people you work with every day. If you don’t establish some wellness programs, your remote team will tire out rapidly. To prevent this, you need to consider implementing some virtual wellness programs that ensure your remote employees adopt a much healthier lifestyle.
Here are some of the best wellness program ideas you can implement for your remote workers.
Online Fitness Classes
The transition to remote work has caused plenty of people to become unmotivated and procrastinate more frequently. Even with the additional time provided to them from working at home, only a couple of them are taking the time to workout regularly. To ensure your remote workers are remaining physically active, consider setting up a virtual fitness program that provides online classes. It’s an excellent way to encourage your remote employees to take account of their fitness even when they are working from home.
Talk to them and decide on the frequency of these online fitness classes. For instance, you could hold them at least three times a week for effective results. Afterward, decide on the type of workouts your team should do, such as cardio or strength training. If most of your team has not exercised much before, consider starting with some beginner’s exercise to ease them into it.
Furthermore, make sure you take the time to encourage your remote team to participate in these online fitness classes. If you want to give them an extra push, consider incentivizing their efforts. For example, the best performer receives a prize at the end of the month.
Start a fitness challenge
Chances are, some of your remote employees are going to be too shy to participate in the online workout classes. They might not feel comfortable being in front of a live camera working out, or they prefer to work out alone. If that is the case, you can still encourage them to work out by setting up a fitness challenge. You will need to establish a set of goals first, such as taking a daily walk or doing cardio exercises for ten minutes each day.
You could also make different categories of challenges that can be picked by everyone on the team. There is a solid chance that some of your remote workers are already exercising at a pace beyond most of their colleagues. If that is the case, then introduce harder challenges such as running for three miles. Once you have managed to set your challenges, you need to pick how long to run these challenges, such as a quarter or month. An excellent way to keep track of your team's progress is to use apps that can log their daily exercises. Your remote team can use tracking apps to log their workouts and share their stats.
When the challenge comes to an end, hand out a reward to the remote worker who managed to finish their challenge. You can grant them a more significant prize: the remote employee with the most accomplished results. Depending on your budget, reward your winners with a prize such as a gift card. A method like this will incentivize the team to stick with the challenges instead of dropping out after they failed on their first try
Meditation is something that has become increasingly popular among the West. The benefits that meditation provides can significantly benefit your remote workers in several ways. Focus is one of the many factors that meditation can improve upon. Just because your remote workers are not at the office space doesn't mean they are not dealing with distractions. Chances are, they are working from home because of child care. With the kids at home, those distractions can ramp up, leading to them experiencing stress.
Fortunately, meditation encourages mindfulness and decreases stress levels. Consider starting an online meditation session with your remote team members. During each workday, send out a notice to the participants to pause for a moment to take a deep breath and clear their minds. You could also ask the team member to guide the meditation sessions. You could also watch a video together and follow the instructions or use a meditation app for these sessions. If possible, set up a channel on your communication platform that allows remote workers to share soothing music and audio meditations.
Provide Mental health support
Mental health is just as vital as physical health. While working from home does reduce some common stress factors, such as the need to deal with traffic each day or getting late to work, it does introduce another set of challenges for mental health. Managers to remain vigilant and monitor the mental and emotional wellbeing of their remote teams.
A common problem among remote workers is their incapability of getting a decent night's sleep. In fact, 70% of remote workers have had their sleep disrupted from remote working. The lack of sleep is something that managers need to be concerned about since it will impact the overall mental health of their remote employees. Of course, that does not mean you need to take the role of a therapist. It’s not up to you to help fix the problem.
Instead, you need to provide them with mental health support by making it easier for them to seek out assistance from qualified professionals if they require it. There are several ways you can go about this. First of all, you can create an anonymous wellbeing survey that can be sent out every quarter. The idea here is to identify what kind of difficulties your remote team is dealing with, such as loneliness, stress, fatigue, and meager motivation. Once you manage to identify the problem, you can set up a conference call with your entire team to see what you can do to assist them.
Mental health needs to be treated respectfully and openly. Business leaders need to develop a culture that makes it okay for team members to open up about their mental health. The best way to do so is by leading by example. Managers need to make their remote employees feel comfortable about taking time off to destress, the same way they would if they had a doctor's appointment or the flu.
Additionally, you could offer access to online therapy or counseling sessions as a remote employee benefit, similar to dental or eye care. Several organizations are already setting these up to provide their remote employees with assistance during these trying times. The pandemic especially caused a lot of people to stress and contract mental health issues that they could need help with.
Offer perks with subscriptions
During the past couple of years, increased awareness of employee wellness has shaped the modern-day business. With widespread remote working, wellness programs are becoming more necessary now than ever before. When employees were still working at the office space, they would usually have some perks that made their jobs more enjoyable. Some companies would provide fruits or snacks for employees to munch on. They might introduce yoga or fitness classes that are scheduled for specific days.
All of this has been stripped away by the mass adoption of remote working. No longer are people in their cubicles typing away, but instead inside of their furnished homes. These office bonuses were granted for a reason, that being the employee's wellness. There is no reason to stop handing out perks just because everyone is working from home. The idea here is to offer the same perks to remote employees. There are several ways you could go about this.
Subscription services are some of the best ways to replace office perks for remote workers. It replaces the free tasty snacks with a monthly subscription to something like Netflix. You can also replace office exercise classes with an online version or even crest for a gym subscription, depending on the preference of the employee. However, if you can’t find a replacement for an in-office perk, then offer something of equal value to your remote workers. For example, if you had a Friday movie session at the office, it’s best to replace it with letting them disconnect early, or you could stream it through service together.
If possible, allow your employees to design their benefits package. You can provide them with a wide range of perks, and they can select the ones that suit their needs and interests. The idea here is to understand that even though your remote workers can work from home in their sweats, they still deserve to have similar benefits and perks as they previously did.
Organizations that provide their remote workers with wellness programs can ensure they are overall healthier. The wellness programs will assist in developing better habits and raising their overall mood for the better. Plus, with the talent pool of remote workers increasing, your company can generate a reputation for providing its customers with a series of wellness programs that ensure they are taken care of. That shows others that your organization actually cares about its employees and provides them with what they need to remain in good health.