June 10, 2021 by Andrea Rajic
Remote work has been skyrocketing in the past year. The number of people working remotely today has increased by 140% over the last 15 years, and many companies have decided to switch to remote and hybrid work post-pandemic. There are many processes and systems to set up, like ensuring your employees stay as productive as possible when working from home.
Some downsides of remote work are the lack of physical activity and social interaction, which may cause people to feel isolated. What can you do as the employer to ensure the physical health and mental wellbeing of your employees?
In this article, you’ll learn how to help your employees deal with burnout, what wellness programs there are, and which employee wellbeing strategy may be the best choice for your company.
Constant stress can lead to complete exhaustion on every level: physical, mental, and emotional. This state is called burnout, and the syndrome has become quite common over the past few years. Its symptoms include the following:
Although burnout isn’t the only health issue your employees may deal with, the syndrome is extensive since it includes many physical and psychological factors. If you start noticing the mentioned symptoms in people on your team, it’s time to act quickly.
However, it may be even better to be proactive and implement strategies that can help you boost employee engagement and overall wellness, help them overcome the challenges of working remotely and increase your company’s employee retention. Let’s dive in.
Employee mental health and physical wellness should be a part of your company policy and culture if you’re looking to build strong teams and have a stable business as a result. Implement at least one of these remote employee wellbeing strategies, and you’ll see positive results in no time. Help your team members enjoy the perks of working remotely without their health suffering.
If your employees are working from home for the first time now, they may need encouraging words more than ever. Recognition and praise can help them feel appreciated, which leads to higher motivation and better performance. That can be vital when your employees have to rely on their own discipline and the ability to self-motivate.
Make it a daily habit to compliment your employees on their effort, too, not only on their results. Also, don’t only praise your top-performers. Pay attention to those who may feel invisible in your team - let them know they’re a valuable asset to your company.
This strategy may seem simple, but don’t underestimate its power. It can help decrease employee turnover and absenteeism as you’ll be providing psychological safety for your workers - one of the essential factors in helping them thrive.
Lack of physical activity can lead to many health issues. It may also affect the emotional state of your employees, which can further have a significant impact on their work.
To help them overcome these potential health risks, enable gym memberships in their area or provide them with standing desks to fight the sedentary lifestyle. The ideal first step may be to follow the great example of Ernst & Young.
This company provides free health assessments for its employees. These assessments can be of great use to the employer since they can use the results as the base when establishing their employee wellbeing strategy.
Once a week, send out an email in which you’ll inform your employees about their weekly performance, any news that you may have, and give them tips on how to boost their results. These emails don’t need to be strictly professional - you can also include some life-related tips, such as stress management advice or movie or book recommendations, so your employees can wind down over the weekend.
You may even share your personal thoughts on business or specific topics! That will show your employees that you see them as your most valuable asset in business. Also, they’ll know that you value work-life balance, positive relationships between your workers, and workplace health.
Parents with small children may have the most challenging task when it comes to work-life balance. They try to be present for their child but at the same time stay on top of their work tasks. It’s tough to focus when you’re at home instead of your working environment, so parents may need additional support from their employers.
Consider lowering their workload or giving them more flexible working hours to avoid work-related stress and frustration and help them reach their full professional potential.
Employee health isn’t only about organizing a happy hour and going to the gym after work. It’s also about knowing exactly what your role is and what results your team leader expects. Setting up systems and establishing clear goals helps your workers avoid chaos and all the work-related stress that comes with it. Creating handbooks with guidelines that people can access when needed can clear up doubts your employees may have.
Daily communication is also vital. Don’t only rely on Slack chats to stay in touch with your team members because many things get lost in translation. Video conferencing is critical. Seeing someone’s face is essential in the context of remote work, especially if you’re giving feedback.
Luckily, calm and focus can be practiced. As it may be difficult to concentrate when working from home, meditation and yoga sessions can be a valuable part of your wellbeing initiative.
These activities can help your employees feel more present both at work and at home. Mindfulness can draw a clear line between working hours and personal time at home, decreasing the chances of burnout. In addition to these sessions, help your workers build a habit of expressing gratitude daily. It can affect your employee morale even when they’re not together and boost overall workplace wellbeing.
If your team is dispersed all around the globe, it may be difficult to bring them all to one place for a team-building event or retreat.
However, you can organize a virtual one to make up for not being able to socialize in person. Virtual team buildings and offsites may even implicate cost savings for you, so you can really go all in to organize a memorable event.
When you have a global team, the needs of your employees may also depend on the demographics and cultures they come from. Make sure your team-building activities are hand-picked so everyone can enjoy them equally.
Talking to a psychologist can be an excellent cure for burnout, and it can also prevent it. If your budget allows it, provide professional counseling sessions for employees that may need it.
It’s critical to organize these sessions with utmost discretion as some people may be embarrassed to admit that they need professional help to overcome an issue. To fight this stigma and raise awareness about the importance of mental health, you can also organize open discussions and group coaching.
Work-life balance is super important, but your employees still have ambitions and dreams regarding their careers. To ensure they also have support in this area, organize weekly webinars and online learning opportunities to help them improve as professionals.
If you’re not sure what skills they’d like to acquire, send out a survey and pick the most popular topics to cover them on webinars, courses, and other types of training.
When working from home, your employees may need to adapt to a new life rhythm. They may be looking after sick parents or small children, so flexible working hours might be an excellent solution for both sides.
On the one hand, they won’t be under pressure to keep the same pace as if they were at the office while fighting the distractions coming from this new work environment. On the other hand, you’ll be able to count on them completing their tasks with the same quality as usual.
Does everyone on your team have access to the same health benefits? To boost employee experience at your company, you may want to learn as much as possible about what you can do for your global team members. People from different locations should also enjoy the same level of healthcare, especially in uncertain times.
Flexible office spaces have long been known to improve employee wellbeing, reduce burnout, and tackle isolation that comes with working from home. Providing your employees with spaces for collaboration, connection, or even just focused work outside of the house makes them feel supported and acknowledged.
This is not to be confused with introducing mandatory schedules for when they need to be at a specific space. Your team should have the choice of visiting flexible workspaces when it helps their schedules, productivity, and wellbeing.
To support collaboration and connection, come up with a flexible workspace plan that works for your company. There are great flexible work space providers who can accommodate all needs and requests and enable your teams to tap into the magic of encounters and working together.
The bottom line is that an ideal solution for every company is tailored to its needs and employees. Before you choose a strategy to ensure your employees’ wellbeing, survey them and find out what’s most likely to increase their job satisfaction. Revisit your budget and consult your human resources department to see how you can make the most out of the resources you have.
What makes a good wellness initiative, then? Showing empathy, setting clear boundaries and expectations, and providing psychological and physical safety for your employees even when they’re working remotely.
Whatever strategy you choose, taking care of the health conditions in which your employees perform their work can only have enormous benefits for everyone involved in your business.