Rewind less than a decade and the way that millions of people work today would have been unrecognisable, with the daily commute and office facetime still very much the norm. Yet following a global pandemic that rapidly forced companies to adapt to remote working on a scale never before seen, the workplace landscape has now changed for good.
Although the new era of remote work brings many benefits for employees, there are still challenges that remote teams face. One thing that is clear is that if employers want to ensure their teams develop, engage and grow at work, there’s a need for a whole new approach to workplace wellbeing. Here, we look at what to consider when thinking about employee wellbeing initiatives for remote workers to help teams thrive at work and at home.
Why do we need a new approach to workplace wellbeing?
Helping employees to stay healthy when working from home is a new challenge for many companies. Let’s face it, until the pandemic swept the world in 2020, companies often viewed working from home as a rare occurrence for the majority of their team.
The design of most offices takes into account the optimal position for our posture, yet working from kitchen tables and DIY office spaces at home is now taking its toll on employees, with over half of people reporting significant back, neck or shoulder pain.
Sedentary hours are on the rise too, causing damage to the physical and mental health of employees across the board.
It’s clear that simply telling employees to move more is not enough, especially when a reported 34% of employees feel unable to leave their desk in case people think they aren’t working.
Developing effective wellbeing initiatives for remote workers
So how can companies successfully support both remote working and employee wellbeing, in a way that has real, tangible impact?
If you’re a team leader, use your position to lead by example and show your team that you can take time out of your schedule to move your body during the working day. Create an environment where employees are empowered and encouraged to get outside of their four walls. Discuss the wide range of benefits of movement with your team, from the increased focus and creativity that nature can deliver through to relieving the pressure on your body from sitting at a desk for hours on end.
If you’re struggling for ideas, here are a few activities you can try with a remote team:
- Schedule a ten minute stretching session into the calendar for your entire team, and either host the session on Zoom or provide resources for employees to go at their own pace.
- For teams that use a messaging tool such as Slack, create a culture of regular coffee chats where work topics are off limits and you can even try themed calls – such as bring your pet – to bring a bit of joy to the working day!
- Start a team movement challenge where everyone contributes to the goal in their preferred way, whether that’s walking, dancing or on wheels.
- Bring in an expert to talk to your team about stress management techniques to help them develop their own coping mechanisms.
Explore wellbeing initiatives for remote workers that create a sense of belonging and community. Although teams may be spread across the country or even the globe, using creative health-tech tools like Magic Mountain to encourage teams to get outdoors and move – in their own time, at their own pace yet with a collective aim – can send a strong message that movement is a priority. The sense of purpose and competition that a team-based movement challenge inspires is a powerful way to increase team morale and connection as we continue to adapt to an increasingly remote work environment.
These are just some of the insights from our workplace wellbeing report, bringing together the voices of thousands of employees to discover the true state of wellbeing at work. Make yourself a cuppa and have a read!