Work From Home has been an adjustment for employees and employers alike. While the idea of working remotely was around before COVID, the rate at which it has been implemented in the last 7 months is unprecedented. During this time, companies have had to adjust the way they serve their customers and how they engage their employees. Employees are, after all, a company’s greatest asset.
There are considerable advantages of wellness in the remote workplace when compared to being in the office. There’s no commute, no parking issues, and there’s the comfort of working from home. However, these advantages come at a cost, given that some perks can only be shared in the office. Being out of the office, employees lose perks such as healthy snacks, company-wide fitness challenges, and in-office gyms.
A remote work environment might present different challenges of getting your employees engaged in company-wide health efforts but doing so is just one way everyone can stay connected while we’re apart.
How Do You Engage Employees When Everyone is Remote?
Employee wellness is essential and should not be lost because everything has gone virtual. Encouraging better employee health, fitness, and wellbeing activities can be highly beneficial for both the employee and its greater well-being. It can positively affect things across the board: teamwork, productivity, communication, and trust. Not to mention your employees will live happier and healthier lives.
A person's well-being is dependent on numerous factors. By adapting your corporate wellbeing program, you can focus broadly on how you can provide resources and goals for your staff to work towards.
Let's look at how we can engage employees in wellness activities. Here are 8 employee wellness activity ideas that can increase the overall productivity and engagement for everyone.
1. Supply Employees with Tools for Success
The switch to remote work forced everyone to adapt their home to their primary office space. However, not everyone has the tools and equipment needed at home to best perform their daily work responsibilities. Work from home is, unfortunately, more complicated than lounging while working from a laptop all day. As relaxing as it can be to attend Zoom meetings from a bed, it ultimately is not a conducive workspace.
Another issue with remote work is that it makes it harder to communicate. It is easy to walk over to a coworker's desk in the office and ask a question. Developing strong relationships with clients is also much easier when you can have in-person conversations.
Luckily, technology has progressed to where we can solve many of these issues. Providing your employees with a Slack or a Microsoft Teams account makes it easy to message, call, or video chat with anyone in the office or share lunch with a client.
Employees can also creatively use technology to help with time management and completing their daily tasks. For instance, relying on a same-day delivery app can have workday essentials delivered straight to them. From OTC pain relievers and food to cleaning items and desk supplies, the ability to have someone else deliver necessary items without taking away from your current workload can help you feel more balanced and productive.
Taking the effort to share with your employee's tools like these will help foster a more productive work environment no matter where they are logging in from. The living room will never replace the office, just as a Zoom call will never be equivalent to an in-person meeting. Companies can, however, equip their staff with essential perks and benefits to inspire efficiency and teamwork.
2. Introduce Employee Rewards Programs
Finding ways to reward your employees for their work is a great way to contribute to their overall wellness. Employee rewards programs work with your HR representatives to provide rewards and incentives to boost company morale and productivity.
Organizations should take corporate wellness initiatives by introducing programs such as employee rewards program, etc. This as an excellent way to acknowledge all that your employees do. A few ways you can do so with Plum are with festive gifting options, giving your employees something to celebrate their anniversary milestones with, or even something as simple as savings and discounts to assist with their daily spendable income. It's really a nice touch when you consider the different circumstances your employees have been working through, especially this year.
3. Offer Flexibility
A flexible work arrangement is an excellent way to provide support for your employees. While traditionally flex plans were used for gig workers or freelancers, many employers are finding that this style of work can help boost many aspects of the business. Typically, a flexible work arrangement is composed of three elements that employees can establish: choice of location, the ability to create an ideal schedule, and plan their workday accordingly.
There are many benefits to a flexible work plan aside from just employee happiness. Employee retention, an increase in productivity, and employee engagement are just a few perks that allow both employees and employers to thrive. By embracing this form of work, you can set your employees and business up for success. Not to mention those who have children might also be able to save on childcare costs.
4. Find Unique Ways to Engage
Whether you are home due to the pandemic or working remotely for some time, it is important to find ways to remain engaged. Relying too much on email communication alone can be tiring and overwhelming. Simple activities such as company-wide surveys, video calls, or coffee chats create multiple channels for communicating to help connect employees on another level and provide a sense of normalcy and belonging.
As mentioned earlier, the communication tool Slack is another great way to unite your employees. This software allows various chat room features that can be organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging, among Slack's unique features like custom emojis, giphy, and the ability to set reminders for yourself.
Lastly, designate a time where the company can gather as a group. Working remotely can feel isolating, but scheduling a team-wide or company-wide meeting can remind everyone that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Organizing an in-person meeting is most likely not feasible, but finding creative ways to meet as a group. Schedule happy hours, coffee breaks, or simply a quarterly review where people can have the opportunity to see people they don't see on a daily basis. It will do wonders for your company culture.
2020 has been a stressful year. People have had to adapt to new schedules, new workspaces, and different home environments, all under the pressure of a global pandemic. Come up with a few solutions for your employees to find healthy and calming ways to destress. One option is conducting a virtual wellness program like hiring a yogi to conduct virtual meditation or yoga sessions for employees to take part in.
Consider offering subscriptions to popular wellness apps like Headspace or Calm for employees to use for meditation and mindfulness techniques. Through these stress management options, you help your employees attain a healthy mind and body, making them more effective at handling stressors at work.
6. Provide Access to Mental Health Services
Another great initiative to think about creating is a mental health benefits package for employees to use at their own discretion. This could include a list of resources, websites, and tools to support people who need it when they need it. Additionally, think about offering counseling support through telemedicine for your employees to take advantage of as well.
Especially given the unusual and difficult circumstances that have arisen this year, people will benefit from having services like a support line or access to counselors to provide mental health and well-being support. Employers can also make use of an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP. EAP's are used to help companies and their employees with a variety of issues. These can occur both in and out of the workplace and provide access to mental health services and employee assistance. These services are an easy and convenient way to access supportive services.
7. Encourage Breaks
Working from home can be an isolating experience. You can go a whole workday without interacting with anyone without taking any breaks social or otherwise. Be sure to emphasize the importance of taking breaks throughout the day.
Encourage employees to take short walks outside or find ways to have a few minutes away from the computer sporadically. This provides the necessary moments to reset, regroup, and relax before tackling the next task.
Just as short breaks are necessary daily, taking an entire day or two off is also important for employee wellness. The pandemic has undoubtedly limited the ability to take dream vacations or even any vacation at all. Without vacations to plan, it can be easy to feel like you have to work week-after-week. Everyone needs a break, even if it is just a chance to relax at home without having to check emails or Slack notifications.
Encourage your employees to take a day or two off if they still have vacation days. It is important for them to take the time to recharge and not overwork themselves.
8. Discuss Wellness Often
Create a space where your human resources department can regularly check-in and discuss wellness-related topics with your employees. Set up seminars where your employees can learn about nutrition, sleep, work-life balance, fitness, financial planning, and more. So many factors contribute to one's overall well-being and it is important to help increase general understanding. Just because you are no longer in the office doesn't mean education has to stop.
Ultimately, remote work can be a hard transition for your employees if they are not used to it. Using these tips can provide your employees with the tools and scenarios that make the transition and encourage them to focus on their we.
At Xoxoday, we deeply understand the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and engagement drivers of people, be it an employee, supplier, contract staff, gig or consumer. We bring simplicity and continuity to a complex, everyday problem.