The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. Historically, remote work was only an option utilized by some organizations. Before the pandemic, only 6% of employees worked primarily from home and about three-quarters of employees never worked from home. However, since the pandemic, it has become more standard. Today, the number of people working from home has nearly tripled, to 18%. While some employees find remote work as a great way to instill work-life balance, others feel like it can negatively impact their social, physical and mental well-being. Many studies have depicted the impact of remote work, and the results are mixed.
To ensure remote work is as productive and convenient to their employees as it would be in the office, many employers are promoting a human-centric workplace that prioritizes employee wellness and mental health. And with the growing awareness of workplace well-being, more employers have started offering employee wellness programs to ensure their remote employees’ mental and emotional health isn’t compromised.
Wellness training and awareness efforts can help to prevent stress and burnout from affecting employee health and well-being. Let’s take a look at three effective ways to support remote workers’ wellness and well-being.
3 Employee Wellness Tips for a Thriving Remote Workplace
1. Create social spaces.
Studies show that almost 20% of remote workers feel socially isolated and alone due to lack of connection with other team members. In addition, according to Pew Research, six in 10 workers say they feel less connected to their co-workers now than they did prior to working remotely. To solve this issue, consider incorporating virtual wellness challenges that boost team interaction and engagement. For example, offer an online yoga class that employees can attend together, or 15-minute mindful breathing sessions and/or meditation exercises to promote focus and reduce stress.
To promote a sense of connectivity amongst dispersed teams, you can also start by creating a social channel or chat room for employees to share wellness tips. Encouraging connectivity in the workplace can help promote social wellness and build stronger teams that work better together — no matter where they’re working from.
2. Support work-life balance.
Getting remote employees to “turn off” work afterhours is another common challenge for businesses operating remotely. However, many employers do not anticipate the employee health risks associated with overwork. According to the Buffer and AngelList study, 18% of employees struggle with unplugging from work. This can lead to employee burnout and mental health issues down the line. Employers must encourage their workforce to disconnect themselves from work after work hours and ensure that they are not disturbed during weekends or on their paid time off (PTO).
To create a culture that celebrates work-life balance, try implementing wellness challenges that hold employees accountable for their mental health in a fun and engaging way. For example, you can turn work-life balance into a friendly team competition and reward the most engaged “unplugger” with a prize. You might also encourage employees to turn off their notifications outside of work hours and encourage executive leaders to adopt flexible scheduling when possible.
3. Offer mental wellness programs.
Studies show that employee mental wellness has decreased since the pandemic. Workplace wellness has increasingly become a challenge for many organizations. Wellness training programs can help promote employee mental health and well-being. To support your offerings, conduct employee pulse surveys to understand employee concerns and provide access to coaching and mental health check ins. It’s also to provide information about your company’s employee assistance program (EAP), if you have one, or on external mental health resources when applicable.
By proactively creating a healthy and positive workplace culture, companies can better support their remote workforce’s wellness and well-being. Additionally, with the right wellness training programs in place, and by offering rewards and incentives, you can also help increase employee engagement and connection.