6 Remote Employee Wellness Programs for your Team
Read about Remote Employee Wellness Programs for your team
Your employees' mental and physical health should be a top priority as a manager. This becomes even more important when you have a remote team. Remote workers tend to feel isolated from their teammates and unproductive. To avoid this, companies are launching and executing remote employee wellness programs.
These employee wellness programs help boost employee productivity, lower employee turnover and promote efficient goal attainment among your remote workers. Remember, today’s candidates don’t just look for a job. They also want a healthy and balanced working environment. So you have to be mindful of your employees’ wellness to attract and retain top talents.
Here are some things you can do to ensure your remote employees’ wellness.
1. Build a positive work environment
One of the key ways of building a positive work environment is by creating a company culture that works well for both you and your remote employees. This culture, when well communicated and incorporated, increases employee morale, reduces absenteeism, and boosts employee productivity. All this is in addition to getting the work done and smashing your company goals.
Highlighting your expectations and being transparent with your remote team are the building blocks of any robust working environment. Encourage the open-door policy in your company as well. This should give employees easy access to management. Moreover, it builds transparency and openness between you and the employees.
Remember to recognize your employees’ accomplishments. Having frequent virtual appreciation meetings where successful results are highlighted to all team members will make them feel that their hard work does not go unnoticed.
2. Offer individual counseling
As an employer, it is your role to ensure the employee’s health is upheld. You can do this by making it easier to seek help from a health expert anytime they need it. Offering free therapy sessions is one effective way to safeguard your employees’ health.
Online therapy or teletherapy is a great place to start. Since your employees do remote work, this will be the best option for you to take. It’s pretty effective, and it gives your employees the chance to consult the therapist at the convenience and discretion of their homes.
The image above shows a study by Buffer. It highlights that 24% of employees struggle with loneliness when working at home. Providing counseling is one of many steps to resolving that.
A further 25% of remote workers struggle to unplug from their work. That can hurt their ability to be productive during the designated working hours.
You can make use of this framework to ensure individual counseling for your remote employees:
- Treat mental health like physical health, i.e., attribute the same importance to mental health conditions.
- Create anonymous well-being surveys and send them to your remote employees regularly. That will help you keep track of their well-being.
All that said, the most critical task is to get your employees to take their health seriously in the first place. We live in a world where unhealthy work habits are glorified. In the remote era, this problem is greatly exacerbated in the experience of every freelancer.
3. Host fun virtual events
Organize after-work virtual gatherings for your remote employees. Though these events are virtual, they go a long way in reducing feelings of isolation. They also boost connections between colleagues.
Recreating these social gatherings in a virtual world is key to keeping your remote workforce sane. There is a wide variety of the online programs you can hold for your remote team, including:
- Virtual book club meetings
- Virtual tours of museums and other exciting places
- Quiz nights
- Virtual “campfire” meetings
We are social animals. Working in the office can give employees a chance to interact socially. Office workers who had this interaction taken away from them due to the pandemic have had difficulty adjusting to working in isolation. The Buffer study above shows that 20% of remote employees struggle with loneliness and strong feelings of isolation.
Above, we see a virtual team bonding activity for Big Inc, a strategic marketing company comprising developers and marketing experts. They have a few games and challenges with an incentive for the winner and a downer for the loser. It proves effective each time for Big Inc and their remote staff.
There are several friendly competitions or wellness contests you could implement, like a bike to work challengeṣ or something to encourage daily meditation and mindfulness. Bring in virtual instructors to teach your team how to make simple repairs to their bike, yoga, or goal setting.
You could also use an anonymous survey as part of your workplace wellness programs to get to know your employees’ preferred activities. Ask for feedback from just-concluded events you hosted to get more ideas for future activities. You can also use those insights to create an engaging online community for your remote staff that goes beyond their professional life.
4. Provide training opportunities
Employees don’t want to feel stuck doing the same thing repeatedly. Offering them training gives them the chance to be better and ascend the corporate ladder. They also get to feel more valued.
Whether you are a first-time entrepreneur or a seasoned business person, it is also vital to ensure your employees have what they need to get the job done. These include the tools and resources necessary to complete tasks effectively.
Apart from training your employees on the processes to follow, train them on the tools they need to work effectively and efficiently. Technology is the solution to the new dynamics that come with remote working. But it’s only beneficial if the team knows how to use the tech given to them.
For instance, companies are using scheduling software to manage their employee schedule and keep everyone on the same page from anywhere in the world. Internal communication can also remain effective if you train employees on how to use collaboration tools and instant messaging platforms.
One company that stands out in training its employees is Google. The company has a program dubbed g2g, where employees and offshore developers volunteer to teach and train their fellow employees. That is in addition to several other training programs offered to Google staff for free.
Offering training opportunities goes a long way in leaving a positive impact on your remote morale and productivity.
5. Create a virtual space for informal conversations
It is vital to keep social contact between your employees alive. Ensuring that no one feels isolated is an essential aspect of remote employee wellness.
That’s why you need to develop a virtual space for informal conversations. A great way to develop this is to create a biweekly or monthly health and wellbeing club. These will be geared towards peer-to-peer assistance and encourage your team to look after one another.
Consider having regular social webchats. For example, you can create a non-standard Slack channel to encourage social interaction among remote staff. Motivate your employees to share their healthy lifestyles, fitness journeys, healthy snacks, and weekend fun activities to hype up the other employees to start their journey. Another option is to create a coffee/lunch roulette where you pair your teams and let them have a conversation on the provided topics.
Do not feel the pressure to host every event. Create a dedicated team among your remote employees which can create events, update everybody on the team and run the events from top to bottom.
6. Offer other perks to replace in-office benefits
Office perks like complimentary breakfast, free fruits, or pizza on Fridays positively impact employee morale. Netflix has an elaborate coffee and drinks section in all their offices. The image below is from their main building.
But what if you have a remote team instead? What should you do? Well, develop alternative incentive programs for your remote staff.
For instance, instead of free office fruit for employees, Retail IT has enrolled their remote workers in fruit subscription box services.
Offering health insurance premiums and reimbursement or discounts on gym memberships is another perk you can use. That encourages remote employees to stay fit. It’s also great because most of them remain seated for long hours a day. They have little or no breaks for physical activity.
A genius idea is to allow your employees to choose what they like from a list of approved perks. You can even involve them in selecting perks that should be offered. Let them list some options, then trim the list as needed.
Set up perks for your remote employees to make them more excited about working with you, and you’ll boost their performance and goal attainment on the job.
Employee wellness has become a top priority today, with employers coming to terms with the idea that employee health is a crucial determinant of company success. Creating and implementing a workplace wellness program goes a long way in reducing employee turnover. It boosts employee morale and keeps them healthy and well enough to get the job done.
Here’s what you need to do once again: Build a positive work environment. Offer free individual counseling for your remote workforce to allow them to open up. Take care of their health further by hosting virtual events and encouraging informal social conversations among team members. Add some creative perks and training to the list.
Follow these tips, and you are on your way to having a motivated and healthy remote team that is engaged, happy and productive. Good luck!
Baidhurya Mani is the founder of SellCoursesOnline.com. He regularly shares tips, tools, and strategies to help creators and entrepreneurs build a successful online course business.