October 20, 2022 by Andrea Rajic
Table of contents
The biggest challenges of remote teams post-pandemic? Burnout, a lack of team connections, and decreasing employee wellbeing.
So what can People teams do to ensure the physical health and mental wellbeing of your employees? In this article, you’ll learn how to deal with burnout, enrich your wellness programs, and implement employee wellbeing tactics your team will love.
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. The symptoms of burnout include:
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.
It’s even better to be proactive and implement strategies to boost employee engagement and wellness, help them overcome remote working challenges, and increase your company’s employee retention. Let’s dive in.
Employee wellness should be part of your company culture if you want to build strong teams and have stable business results. Implement at least one of these employee wellness strategies, and you’ll see positive results in no time.
Make it easy for employees to create better habits and choose a healthier lifestyle by giving them access to the necessary tools. Now, this doesn’t mean pressuring them into any of these wellbeing initiatives — just making sure they have resources available.
For starters, you can offer gym memberships as part of your perks package or provide workers with standing desks to fight the sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, offer health assessments to employees regularly. This may help uncover issues like heart disease and chronic illnesses and help the company establish the rest of its employee wellbeing strategy.
You can empower employees to boost their physical wellbeing with access to yoga and mindfulness sessions and promote healthy eating by sending healthy snack packages to their homes every month. Ideas are endless, so choose a few and start there with promoting workplace wellbeing.
Remote employees often rely on their discipline and ability to self-motivate — but that doesn’t mean they don’t like being recognized for their work. Recognition and praise can help them feel appreciated, leading to higher motivation and better performance.
It should be relatively easy to kickstart employee recognition efforts. People teams should suggest ways to promote recognition as part of the workplace culture and share their vision with leadership. Then, when you decide on what these efforts should look like, you can choose the apps and tools to help you.
This strategy may seem simple, but don’t underestimate its power. It can help with stress management and decrease employee turnover and absenteeism, as you’ll be providing psychological safety for your workers - one of the essential factors in helping them thrive.
Employee mental health is one of the most pressing topics for workers worldwide, but employers still haven’t quite caught up with its importance. After a two-year pandemic, with a work environment that is mainly virtual and their personal lives to tackle, employees take on a lot every day.
Talking to a mental health professional could be a perk that brings your workforce a much-needed sense of support, so don’t shy away from providing these sessions to employees.
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 or just cover the costs of mental health expenses for your remote workers.
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. Schedule calls when needed, do regular reviews of job performance and give feedback often.
Flexible office spaces have long been known to improve employee wellbeing, reduce burnout, and tackle the 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.
To support collaboration and connection, develop a flexible workspace plan that works for your company. Use a platform like Gable to help you provide spaces to employees everywhere while you stay on top of usage, policies, and budget spending — all in one place.
People and Workplace teams are often tasked with finding ways to encourage work-life balance and reduce burnout in remote teams. And one of the simplest ways to do it boils down to PTO. All the perks in the world won’t make a difference if your employees can’t take a week off without feeling pressured to reply to emails and stay connected — which is a direct path to burnout.
Whether you’re offering a fixed amount of days or limited PTO, make sure employees use it. Share best practices on when and how long to take time off, talk about why it matters, and remind employees who haven’t taken personal days in a while to do it.
You may think this is an obvious tactic, but it bears repeating — employees need and appreciate good healthcare coverage. And when they are distributed across locations, it’s your job to ensure everyone has the same level of access.
To boost employee wellbeing at your company, you will want to learn as much as possible about what you can do for your global team members and how to maximize the coverage they get, wherever they are. Financial stability and security are essential to your workers, and worrying about healthcare expenses for themselves and their dependents is not something they should be doing.
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.
The same goes for caregivers who benefit from the ability to design their work schedule around their caregiving needs. One of the simple ways to support caregivers and working parents is to embrace flexible working. The concept of a non-linear workday can help your employees organize better, feel supported at work, and ultimately perform better.
Additionally, you can provide allowances and stipends for childcare and other caregiving-related expenses. There’s no better incentive for an employee to be engaged and perform well than eliminating a significant stressor from their daily life.
Work-life balance is super important, but your employees still have ambitions and dreams about their careers. To ensure they can achieve career growth, design a robust learning and development program and promote it internally.
You can do company-sponsored webinars and learning courses and help employees master soft skills like working remotely, communicating effectively, and managing upwards. On top of that, create yearly budgets for employees and encourage them to spend them on courses, conferences, and even books of their choice.
Offering an L&D program that is half-structured and half-open leaves room for employees to tailor their own professional development. This way, the company covers the essential skills and topics for a modern workforce while workers build a career trajectory inside the company.
Remote companies are the champions of doing everything online, from brainstorming sessions to team-building activities. But sometimes, they should meet on-site to work together, socialize, and connect.
Planning a company offsite can be logistically challenging, but it helps enhance teamwork, a sense of cohesion and connection, and overall employee experience. Meeting in person for a company-wide event once or twice a year is enough to help employees meet each other better, feel less lonely, and better understand the work culture.
One thing to keep in mind: when you have a global team, their needs depend on the demographics and cultures they come from. Make sure your team-building activities are hand-picked so everyone can enjoy them equally.
A sure way to reduce stress levels in a remote company is to eliminate friction in internal communication. If you don’t already have employee user guides, company wiki pages, and best practices for project communication and holding meetings, start creating these documents now.
If you do, you’re already halfway there. Make sure all employees have access to these documents and know when they should reference them. When working remotely, it’s easy to get sucked into the daily workload and forget the communication basics.
A bonus tip for human resources teams: add all the communication-related documents to your onboarding process. It will help new hires find their way quickly and provide the guidance they need.
Hiring remotely comes with challenges and incredible benefits, one of them being diversity. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are easier to achieve in remote teams, but only if you make it your goal and make it meaningful.
For employees worldwide, it’s increasingly important that the companies they work in take a stance and actively work on their DEI efforts. Striving for a workplace that is inclusive and equitable for all is one of the factors when choosing whether to accept a new job.
It’s up to the People teams to lead these efforts and make the case with leadership: companies with diverse employees welcome different backgrounds and perspectives. These, in turn, make it easier for companies to innovate, perform better, and achieve better business results.
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. Then, revisit your budget and work with leadership and the Workplace department to make the most of your resources.
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 overall health and wellness in the workplace can only have enormous benefits for everyone involved.
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