The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Workplace Wellness for Remote Workers
Gone are the days of the once customary nine to five routine office job. Nowadays, workplaces are seeing a major shift in traditional operations, with employers now offering more flexible work arrangements, such as the ability to work remotely.
Remote work, whether at home—locally or in another city—or at a satellite office, can yield significant benefits for both employers and employees, but not without certain trade-offs. While remote work arrangements can improve employee retention and productivity, they can also have a negative effect on company culture.
Remote employees may feel a sense of disconnect from the natural discourse that occurs in an on-site work environment. Because of this, they may be less likely to participate in additional company initiatives like health and wellness programs. Fortunately, fostering workplace wellness across the board is easier than one might think. Here are three ways to help engage remote employees in wellness programs:
1. Make wellness offerings accessible to everyone
When it comes to health and wellness benefits for employees, it’s quite common for companies to offer gym or fitness center memberships for free or at discounted rates. Sounds great, right? Well, for those located further away, it can be a rather worthless perk if that specific health club doesn’t have a location in their region. Employers could offer some sort of stipend or reimbursement, although that wouldn’t necessarily guarantee engagement.
Rather, companies with remote workers will want to create a wellness initiative that’s inclusive of all employees regardless of their location. In this case, organizations might consider providing their employees with resources like online access to a tailored weight-loss program geared toward a variety of lifestyles. With features like 24/7 nutritional and fitness support, employees will have everything they need to participate and engage in healthy habits—near or far.
2. Establish a universal sense of community
Corporate fitness challenges are rising in popularity as an exciting way to motivate staff to take charge of their health and even connect with their colleagues. But wellness challenges only work if they are engaging, meaning they require a high level of participation. Often, individuals feel more enticed to take part when they feel a tie to a community or good cause—or better yet, both. However, a standard grassroots approach to wellness competitions like a company 5K or fun run for charity isn’t going to work for remote staff.
Instead, find a charity fitness challenge like Kilter Rewards that allows community-based involvement no matter the distance. Employees within an organization can compete to earn money for a charity of their choice by completing daily health activities like walking, running, biking, swimming, and more. The mobile app allows participants to easily track their efforts while also enabling employees to further connect with each other by following and engaging with each other’s progress!
3. Acknowledge all employee wellness achievements
Part of establishing and continuing workplace wellness includes encouragement and recognition. While recognition is not, in and of itself, the driving force behind employee participation in wellness programs, it is still an important factor to keep in mind. Some well-deserved praise now and then, especially when an employee reaches a wellness goal, will make them feel appreciated and will also promote encouragement and boost morale.
Although, as previously mentioned, remote staff can frequently feel excluded and detached from organic in-office culture, which means employers should go the extra mile to create avenues for remote employee recognition. For larger organizations, highlighting remote workers in a company newsletter or giving them a shout-out during a group call or video chat is an excellent way to acknowledge their contributions. Smaller organizations with more leeway for personal recognition might consider sending their remote workers an individual email or mailing them a card. They will be sure to appreciate the sweet sentiment.
Finding the motivation and enthusiasm to partake in a wellness program or initiative can be challenging enough for on-site employees, but it can prove to be even more tricky for remote employees. Nevertheless, investing in the health and well-being of all employees is crucial. Fortunately, organizations with a forward-looking dynamic toward workplace wellness will come to find that inclusion for all is easily achievable.