The move towards remote work is in full swing, and remote work wellness is becoming a big topic.
Implementing a wellness program, team-building activities, or virtual well-being sessions over Zoom is something worth considering.
According to a study by Tracking Happiness, the ability to work remotely increases employee happiness by as much as 20% (goodbye commute!)
But, there are also major challenges to remote worker’s wellbeing. Research by McKinsey shows that 49% of remote employees are experiencing burnout.
Other issues include loneliness, social isolation, stress, anxiety, too many calls, and overall negative impact on mental health.
This poses a unique challenge for managers, HR teams, and team leaders who want their virtual teams to thrive.
So how to overcome these issues and bring a high level of wellbeing into your distributed organization?
Table of contents:
- 10 Fun & Effective Remote Employee Wellness Programs Ideas
- Wellness Activities For Remote Employees
- Remote Team Wellness Ideas & Activities
- Virtual Wellness Challenge Ideas
- Wellness Tips For Employees Working From Home
- Wellness Initiatives for Remote Employees
- Virtual Wellbeing Session Ideas and Zoom Wellness Activities
- Taking Care Of Your Mental Health While Working From Home
- Getting a Job in Remote Wellness
- 5 Benefits of Implementing a Remote Work Wellness Program
- Elements of a Well-Balanced Wellness Program
- How to Implement a Successful Remote Work Wellness Program
- The Best Practices for Remote Work Wellness
- FAQs About Remote Work Wellness
- New Paradigm For Remote Work Wellness
10 Fun & Effective Remote Employee Wellness Programs Ideas
Implementing a wellness program offers a host of benefits to remote workers. It can improve their physical and mental health, increase productivity, and reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs for employers. It can also foster a sense of community and improve job satisfaction.
According to Health Affairs, implementing wellness programs results in a decrease of around $3.27 in medical costs for every dollar spent. Another study by Jama Network showed that implementing a wellness program resulted in an 8.3% increase in employees reporting regular exercise and a 13.6% increase in employees reporting active weight management.
With these benefits in mind, here’s a list of wellness programs you can implement in your organization:
1. A mindfulness program
A mindfulness program is easy to implement and it can help reduce the levels of stress and anxiety that fuel burn out and absenteeism. It might be as simple as organizing a bi-weekly 15 minute meditation session with a qualified teacher.
There are also many apps (like Waking Up, Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier or Insight Timer) that you can use as a group, and encourage employees to use them individually.
2. A yoga program
Keeping your team flexible and pain-free is so worth it. Practicing yoga via virtual meetups can improve flexibility, strength, and balance, and prevent injury.
It may also boost cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and reduce chronic pain, which causes many employees to leave the workforce.
3. A breathwork program
Practicing breathwork can help your team to stay balanced by reducing stress and helping everybody calm down. There are so many breathwork modalities worth trying out, including deep breathing, breath retention, the Wim Hof method.
There are also many apps, like the Pranayama app that you can use individually or in a group setting.
4. Improving well-being through gamification
Gamification leads to higher adherence to any wellness program. Scoring points for good behavior and creating a leaderboard can help the team stay motivated and build good habits related to health and well-being.
There are many gamification platforms you can take advantage of, including Engagedly, Trivie, Hoopla, LevelEleven or Ambition.
5. Organizing employee challenges
Creating challenges for remote employees is an excellent idea to keep everybody engaged and get support from the team.
You need to set a goal (what you want to achieve with the challenge), choose a challenge, establish rules, communicate them to the team, provide support, and evaluate the results. There’s a whole list of challenges to pick from below.
6. Equipping remote employees with ergonomic work equipment
Fatigue, chronic pain, and overwork can all relate to negative health and well-being outcomes for remote workers. Creating a budget for ergonomic equipment and sending this equipment to your remote teams can make a huge difference.
Many workers don’t have the right chair, the comfortable desk, the ergonomic mouse, or the right monitor. If you want your workers to stay with your company for the long term, it’s essential that you take care of these basic needs.
7. Introducing a work buddy system
Remote workers can feel isolated and feel that they don’t have anybody to talk to about their work-related issues. Introducing a body system helps in promoting teamwork and improving job satisfaction.
Buddies can work on specific goals, give each other emotional support, and learn new skills together. This kind of system is especially beneficial for new employees.
8. Encouraging a healthy diet and beneficial habits
More employers sign up their remote workers to healthy meal delivery services like Blue Apron, Freshly, HelloFresh, Green Chef or Daily Harvest. These services can be cheaper than you think, especially if you sign up for bulk orders.
Then, you may create a company wiki and email series or a Slack channel that talks about developing healthy habits and the best tools to implement.
9. Encouraging the use of free days
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, workers who took fewer than 10 vacation days per year had a 34.6% chance of receiving a raise or bonus over a 3-year period, while those who took 10 vacation days or more, had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or bonus.
That’s because going on vacation offers many benefits that include higher levels of happiness, reduction in stress levels, and being more productive and motivated later on.
10. Introducing healthy living credits that can be used for wellness activities
Healthy living credits can make a big difference to remote workers’ well-being and improve morale. Employees can earn credits by taking part in activities that promote wellness, such as getting an annual physical exam, completing a health risk assessment, going on a fitness program, or joining a smoking cessation program.
They can later exchange these credits for gift cards, insurance premiums, or other incentives.
Wellness Activities For Remote Employees
Here are more ideas that your team could use as a starting point:
- Stretch breaks
- Water drinking challenges
- Daily step challenges
- Guided meditations
- Virtual fitness classes
- Group therapy
- Employee book club
- Completing an online course as a team
- Care packages
- Virtual co-working sessions with your buddy
- Creating a wellness wiki for your remote team
- In-person meetups
- Meal subscriptions
- Company trips
- Coaching sessions
- Goal setting activities
- Employee online gaming club and game nights
- Team wellness emails and cute animal videos
- Office plant makeovers
- Casual virtual pizza Fridays
- Regular one-on-one meetings
- Installing digital wellbeing software
- Introducing a more flexible work schedule
- Gym memberships
- Massage sessions
- Wellness tracking
- Slack channel for posting cute photos and memes
- Language courses
- Quiet days
Remote Team Wellness Ideas & Activities
- Team building activities
- Virtual tea parties
- Clean your desk challenge
- Group workshops
- Healthy cooking sessions
- Celebrating wins and special occasions
- Virtual movie sessions
- Online office games
- Offering the hybrid work options
Virtual Wellness Challenge Ideas
- Hydration challenge
- Fitness challenge
- Meditation challenge
- Daily step challenge
- Healthy eating challenge
- Volunteering challenge
- Developing good habits challenge
- Team building challenge
- Learning challenge
- Journaling challenge
Wellness Tips For Employees Working From Home (Including Free Activities)
- Developing a healthy morning routine
- Taking regular breaks
- Setting office hours
- Getting enough sleep
- Time tracking and maintaining a routine
- Taking care of a pet
- Getting plants for the home office
- Getting work equipment that will be a pleasure to work with
- Maintaining physical health
- Taking supplements
- Setting boundaries between work and personal life
- Drinking tea and coffee
- Using a breathing app
- Taking a step outside
- Maintaining a clean and clutter-free workspace
- Practicing yoga and meditation
- Going to gym and sauna
- Using on-demand wellness app
- Getting a height-adjustable desk
- Maintaining high levels of energy throughout the day
- Going into nature
Wellness Initiatives for Remote Employees
- Volunteering days
- Spa day
- Dog walking
- Yoga classes
- Mental wellbeing workshops
- Time management workshops
- Healthy lifestyle workshops
- Gym / health club inclusion
- Covering mental health in the health insurance
Virtual Wellbeing Session Ideas and Zoom Wellness Activities
The last thing on your to-do list should be to turn a virtual wellness session into another meeting that will quickly become boring and insubstantial.
Instead, if your only option is to connect with your team on Zoom, Google Meet, or Teams, you could opt for shorter activities that will have an immediate impact.
These might include:
- 10 minute prompted journaling session
- 10 minute breathwork session
- 15 minute yoga session
- 15 minutes to declutter your workspace
- Virtual meeting with employees’ pets
- 15 minute work-life-balance workshop
Tips For Taking Care Of Your Mental Health While Working From Home
- Get enough sleep
- Stay connected to friends and family
- Maintain a regular schedule
- Exercise your body
- Get some morning light into your eyes
- Improve your nutrition
- Look well
- Learn to set boundaries
- Create a dedicated dream workspace
- Go to cafes and co-working spaces
- Cut down on meetings and work with deep focus
Getting a Job in Remote Wellness
The wellness industry is adapting to the new conditions and there are many positions open for the facilitators of remote wellness.
According to ZipRecruiter, these jobs pay $22-$59 per hour ($42k – $113k per year, depending on skills and experience necessary).
You can find thousands of remote wellness jobs on LinkedIn and Indeed. Just type “remote wellness” in the job search box.
You can find roles such as:
- Remote customer care representative
- Health communication specialist
- Community health education specialist
- Crisis line worker
- Wellness and health promotion director
- Manager of inclusion and belonging
- Wellness consultant
- Physical health coach
McKinsey estimates the global wellness market to be at more than $1.5 trillion, with an annual growth of 5 to 10 percent.
The interest in the topic is growing, with 79% of the poll respondents saying believing that wellness is important.
If you ever wanted to get into this industry, now might be the right time.
5 Benefits of Implementing a Remote Work Wellness Program
The internet has made it possible for people to work from anywhere in the world.
While this is great news for those who love to travel or simply wanted to avoid daily commutes, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re cooped up in one location.
That’s where remote work wellness programs come in!
Here are just a few of the benefits of work-from-home on your well-being:
1. You’ll Be More Productive
When you feel good, you perform better. It’s as simple as that.
Stanford University reports that A 9-month study on 16,000 workers found that working from home increased productivity by 13%.
This increase in performance was because of more calls per minute attributed to a quieter, more convenient working environment. More minutes are also spent on work per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days.
In this same study, workers also reported improved work satisfaction and a 50% cut in attrition rates.
2. Your Mental Health Will Improve
Stress can build up easily when you’re always tethered to your laptop, which is not suitable for your mental or physical health. In fact, a lot of serious illnesses like heart disease and depression are linked to chronic stress.
A survey commissioned by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) in 2020 found that more UK-based workers (45%) felt that working from home was better for their health, compared to 29% who think otherwise.
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath after work, taking a midday walk around the block, or spending time with loved ones outside of work can all help reduce stress levels and improve your mental health.
3. You’ll Develop Better Habits
If you want to set a higher standard in your personal well-being, working from home makes it much easier to form new healthy habits like cooking more meals or getting regular exercise.
It’s also easier to stick with them in the long run since you have total control over your environment.
Remote work wellness is achievable when you develop habits that positively affect your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. In time, those habits can become a routine and the routine can turn into a lifestyle.
3. Your Relationships Will Benefit
One of the best things about working from home is saving time by eliminating the daily commute. This means that hours previously spent sitting in traffic can now become quality time with family or friends.
Besides escaping the daily transit to and from your office, you also save at least an hour a day in dressing up and preening yourself in the mirror before stepping out of the house. Why not spend those extra hours reading with your kids or cooking special meals for your family?
5. You’ll Save Money on Top of Feeling Healthier
Working in an office can incur a multitude of extra costs, like the $6 coffee habit or $20 lunch, or even filling up your gas tank!
Working from home it’s an automatic way to save more money because you’ll have fewer opportunities for unnecessary splurging.
While it may be more convenient than ever to order takeout, cooking meals at home with your family will not only be better for your wallet but can help you de-stress as well.
All those little office perks may add up quickly. Snacks in the machine, lunches in your town ‘social club’, and paid subscription memberships all cost you to keep the self-indulgent lifeblood flowing. But they also often drain your bank account.
So there you have it, a few of the many benefits of remote work wellness! Now get out there and start taking care of yourself!
Elements of a Well-Balanced Wellness Program
Remote work wellness includes physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. Let’s inspect each one:
1. Physical Wellness
Physical wellness consists of recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and ample sleep. It also means preventing illnesses and injuries or managing chronic health conditions.
It’s vital to mind your physical health when working from home because if you lose your health, nothing else matters.
Getting plenty of exercise, or even strolling around the block once or twice a day, can make a big positive impact on your strength and stamina.
Eating nutritious meals is also key. Fuel your body with healthy food so that you have the energy to power through your workday.
And last, get plenty of rest! A good night’s sleep (around 8 hours), and a regular sleep schedule can all improve your quality of life quite dramatically.
2. Mental Wellness
The World Health Organization defines mental wellness as: “A state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to his or her community.”
Mental wellness is just as important as physical wellness. When you’re dealing with constant stressors like looming deadlines, it could easily affect your state of mind.
The key to boosting mental health is focusing on different areas of your life, one at a time.
For example, you can spend one-week performing activities like yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. These can help you live “at the moment.” This means letting go of past and future worries and focusing only on what’s going on in the here and now.
Make sure you find time for activities that help reduce stress levels, like playing with your kids or having tea or coffee and talking with your partner. Also, try to get outside for some fresh air every day, even just 10 minutes can make a big difference!
3. Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness encompasses both positive and negative emotions, like happiness, sadness, anxiety, etc. It is the ability to handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.
A good way to maintain emotional balance while working remotely is by practicing self-care activities, such as writing in a journal or taking relaxing baths/showers.
Social media can also be detrimental to our emotional state, so limit the time spent scrolling through newsfeeds aimlessly.
How to Implement a Successful Remote Work Wellness Program
First, you need to have a dedicated workspace that is separate from your living space.
This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions. Second, schedule breaks throughout the day so that you can take time to move your body and clear your mind.
Finally, establish regular check-ins with your manager or team leader so that everyone agrees and knows what expectations are around work hours and deadlines.
If you’re looking to implement a remote work wellness program in your organization, here are a few tips:
- Educate employees on maintaining their health and well-being while working remotely. You can do this through webinars or lunch-and-learns.
- Encourage open communication between employees and managers about expectations around working hours and breaks. Consider having regular check-ins as well.
- Hold employees accountable for meeting deadlines by setting clear expectations from the start.
- Offer support when needed, whether it’s flexible scheduling options during tough times or simply being available to answer questions they may have.
- Finally, provide access to tools and resources that will help employees stay healthy and productive while working remotely (e.g., mental health services or ergonomic furniture recommendations).
The Best Practices for Remote Work Wellness
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Take breaks often to move your body and get some fresh air.
- Keep a healthy diet full of nutritious foods that sustain your energy throughout the day.
- Connect with colleagues and friends, virtually or in person, to stay socially active.
- Create a routine and stick to it as much as possible in order to stay productive and focused.
Following these best practices can help you maintain your wellness while working remotely!
FAQs About Remote Work Wellness
1. Is remote work bad for total well-being?
It depends on each individual’s situation and how they handle working remotely.
Some people may find that they are more productive and have a better work-life balance when working remotely, while others may struggle with loneliness or feeling isolated.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide if remote work is right for them and whether it negatively affects their overall health.
2. How can remote workers support their overall well-being?
It’s essential to maintain a healthy degree of work-life balance. This means setting regular hours for work and taking short breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge.
It is also important to make time for physical activities, eat healthy foods, and stay hydrated to help keep energy levels up throughout the day.
Finally, connecting with others, whether through video calls, social media, or other online forums, can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that often come with working from home.
3. Are remote employees happier?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as happiness is subjective. However, there are a few key reasons remote employees may be happier overall.
First, they have more control over their work-life balance and can often create schedules that better fit their needs. Second, they felt less isolated and more connected to their co-workers since they’re not confined to a cubicle.
Finally, studies have shown that people who telecommute experience less job-related stress than those who don’t.
4. What is the future of remote work wellbeing?
The future of remote work wellbeing is likely to involve a continued focus on mental health and work-life balance. As remote work becomes more prevalent, employers will need to find new ways to support their employees’ mental and emotional wellbeing.
This may involve providing resources and support for managing stress and anxiety, creating opportunities for social interaction and community building among remote workers, and promoting healthy work habits such as taking breaks and setting boundaries.
5. How to use AI to improve employees’ wellbeing?
There are several ways to use AI to improve employees’ wellbeing. One way is to use AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants to provide personalized mental health support and resources. These chatbots can offer confidential and on-demand support to employees who may struggle with stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
AI can also analyze employee data, such as work patterns and productivity levels, to identify potential sources of stress or burnout and recommend interventions to address them.
AI-powered wellness apps can provide personalized recommendations for exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction techniques based on employees’ preferences and goals.
New Paradigm For Remote Work Wellness
There are many remote work wellness programs that can help employees stay healthy and productive.
While each program varies in terms of its focus and approach, all of them share the common goal of helping employees maintain their health and well-being while working from home.
If you’re looking to implement a remote work wellness program at your company, there are a variety of options to choose from.
There are a lot of great services out there that can help you with your freelance writing, remote work, education, productivity, and side hustle.
But staying on top of the remote work wellness trend should be a priority for every organization. It’s not just for show, as there are tangible benefits the organization can enjoy. I recommend looking into the possibilities and getting started today!