Remote workers need wellness programs now more than ever (ok, EVERYONE does). Between the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work becoming the new norm, remote employees are struggling. Prioritizing employee wellness has many benefits including improved mental health, employee retention, improved productivity, and more. Before we get into more benefits, let's go over what team wellness is and what it isn’t.
What is Team Wellness?
The Workplace Wellness Institute describes workplace wellness as any activity that promotes healthy behavior. These could include wellness fairs, free medical screenings, stress management, health coaching, and more.
Better Up makes an excellent point in their article about talking to your team about team wellness. In this article, Maggie Wool states:
“It’s also important to explain that mental well-being isn’t the same as mental health. Mental well-being isn’t clinical and doesn’t involve a diagnosis. It encompasses our thoughts and feelings and affects our personal potential and how we cope with challenges. It can vary across time, and it underpins our ability to perform at our best.”
Team wellness starts with the leaders in the company. If the management isn’t involved, team wellness can’t happen. Companies should offer a variety of employee wellness support, and employees need to know how to access them. When speaking to employees about the wellness options available to them, let them know that they aren’t mandatory but are there for them. Remember, management can also open up about their own struggles to open up a conversation about mental well-being.
5 Ways To Promote Remote Team Wellness
There are many ways to promote team wellness within the company. Below are 5 ways that management and companies can encourage employee wellness.
- Provide stress reduction education to employees.
Provide stress reduction tools for employees. These could include providing dedicated time for employee-led sessions on meditation, deep breathing, and journaling. This could also be as simple as a Slack channel dedicated to stress reduction conversations.
- Put someone in charge of wellness.
Have a chief wellness officer or a wellness coach in charge of ensuring that companies are implementing programs and conversations about employee well-being.
- Be more grateful at work.
Implement a practice of gratitude at work. This article goes over many ways to show gratitude in the workplace. Companies that have more gratitude between co-workers and management is also great for team building.
- Provide Health Screenings throughout the year.
Health risk and assessment screenings. Having these screenings available at work make it convenient for employees and simply providing that convenience can reduce stress. Many of these screenings could be offered virtually for remote employees.
- Let your employees work out at work.
Provide an exercise program and other exercise options for your remote team. One way to do this is to offer times for employees to exercise during work hours. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and release endorphins. There are many cheap/free exercise options for employees including, walking clubs, and yoga (youtube has plenty of free yoga videos available to follow).
Team wellness doesn’t have to be complicated and it all starts with a conversation. Asking employees what would help them and having frequent discussions about wellness is a place to start. Companies should collect data and feedback after a wellness program has been implemented for a certain amount of time. Data is important so companies can make necessary adjustments. Letting employees provide feedback also helps employees feel heard.
Benefits of Team Wellness Programs
There are many benefits of implementing remote and hybrid team wellness programs for both employees and management. Some benefits include:
- It improves the overall mental health of employees.
- It promotes employee retention. If employees are taken care of, they will be more likely to stay.
- Improved morale among employees.
- There are reduced health risks due to employees being encouraged to make healthier choices in food, exercise more, and have less stress.
- It builds camaraderie and creates a sense of community among team members and management.
- Improved productivity due to less mental stress.
Aside from the above benefits, companies that have a culture of wellness also attract great talent. Everybody wants to work for a company that takes care of their employees, and where employees are generally happy.
3 Wellness Programs to Try
There are a lot of different ways companies can implement wellness into their values and everyday schedules. Having a wellness coach and providing healthy foods and times to exercise are great places to start. Companies can also invest in wellness programs to ensure that employee well-being is taken care of. Below are three wellness programs companies can try.
- Team Bonding Hybrid Wellness Challenge
The company, TeamBonding, has virtual challenges for hybrid companies. It involves a variety of daily activities for companies to give employees an opportunity to get healthy as a team. Remember, team members can cheer each other on even if they aren’t in the same building. TeamBonding has many different options for virtual, hybrid, and in-person challenges. Some examples of virtual challenges include virtual laughter yoga, resiliency, and an attitude of gratitude. They seem pretty fun!
Remote Team Wellness is a company that facilitates wellness classes and activities virtually. They have different teachers that focus on organizational wellness through cultivating team building, reducing workplace stress, and creating healthier work environments. They have sessions on emotional wellness, mental health, corporate fitness, and more. An additional part of team building and wellness includes workplace recognition. Try sending a Kudoboard to your employees, co-workers, and bosses to let them know how valued they are.
Core Health also has many different wellness resources for companies. Some of these resources include corporate fitness, financial wellness, health assessments, screenings, and wellness incentives. It also has a marketplace of many different wellness vendors, so companies are guaranteed to find what they need.
There are plenty of other companies that offer wellness programs as well. If your company isn’t ready to invest financially in a paid program, there are plenty of other ways to cultivate a culture of wellness. This Culture Amp article has a few ideas, including flexible hours, community involvement, and parent coaching/support.
There are many different ways that companies can cultivate a culture of wellness for their remote and hybrid (and in-person) teams. Companies can go through a wellness company, hire a wellness coach, or implement simple wellness changes to see the benefits of employee mental health and well-being.