How to support the wellness of remote employees

A quick summary:

Supporting the wellness of remote employees is possibly one of the most discussed topics of 2020.

The transition to a remote or hybrid office model meant that traditional benefits such as local gym memberships, weekly office-yoga, or discounted cinema tickets, became obsolete. And honestly, were they even effective in the first place?

We’ve surveyed thousands of employees and leaders to discover the 3 main ways in which wellness warriors can truly support their people’s wellness regardless of their physical location.

Continue reading if you’d like to understand the reason traditional wellness initiatives don’t work, and how you can fulfil the unique mental, physical and emotional health needs of your people.

1. Focus on internal motivation.

Regardless of our best intentions, as leaders, we can only support our employees’ wellness to a certain extent.

Perhaps before C19, it was possible to convince (or even peer pressure) people at the office to attend wellbeing seminars, join Wellness Wednesdays or stick to the “healthy snack” policy.

However, at a time when individuals can work from any location, only internal motivation can secure a consistent wellness practice.

Too many times, companies focus on the wellness experience itself, and even try to make it compulsory (ie. weekly yoga class). This not only doesn’t work, but it also prevents your employees from enjoying the benefits of true wellness.

The key is to focus on the individual and their unique needs. When they feel like wellness experiences are having an impact on their lifes, they will self-motivate to spend those 15 minutes meditating, to wake up earlier for a workout or to start eating healthier.

You may be thinking, ok understood, but how do I get my employees to be internally motivated?

Which leads us to our next two points...

2. Use accessibility to inspire

Imagine you’re working, your inbox is full, your phone is ringing and you’ve read the same line 5 times without understanding any of it. Stress is getting the best of you.

You’re probably aware that it is best to stop, do a quick workout, or meditate, or even just get a glass of water. But most people just ignore the headache and get on with it. Why? Because at that just seems easier.

But what if, with a simple click,  you could access your coach for a 15-minute call to get into the right mindset? What if you could immediately do an on-demand meditation tailored to your needs?

This sort of accessibility is what actually inspires people to take action. Not because they have to. Not because all their colleagues are doing it. But simply because they can and it is easy to do.

If your previous wellness initiatives have failed, think about how easy you’ve made it for people to actually access them. Not only in a physical sense, but also in terms of time and format.

While a weekly virtual HIIT class for the entire team might seem like an awesome idea at first, remember that people might not have the space, strength, or even time to do it.  Make sure you provide your team access to wellness tools and resources which they can experience as and when and how they want to.

This is especially important when people are at the start of their wellness journey, because any obstacles (as small as they may be), could prevent them from taking the next step.

3. Use choice to empower

Accessibility is just one part of getting your employees internally motivated, the other part is choice.

The choice to treat their stress with a mindfulness session or a kickboxing session. The choice to energize with a healthy smoothie or a protein drink.  In other words, it is not only “they way they can access” wellness experiences, but also the range of offerings which they can access.

Your people want the choice to explore, try-out and discover new wellness experiences that fulfill their unique needs.

Empowered individuals feel like they are in control and like they can choose for themselves. It is not about implementing a compulsory yoga session every Monday or about holding a wellness talk once a month. People must feel like they are able to take ownership of their own wellbeing.

This is only achieved by providing a range of wellness experiences covering all areas of mental, physical and lifestyle.

Over to you...

To support employees’ mental health and work-life balance regardless of their physical location, our role as leaders is to facilitate. We must provide the tools and support for employees to take ownership of their own wellbeing.

Internal motivation and commitment to wellness is the only thing that will actually create a real, long-term impact on the lives of our people. The good news is that this can easily be achieved by providing choice and accessibility. And these must be our top priorities when looking at any benefit or wellness offering.

Offer choice and accessibility and your people will be motivated to thrive wherever they are.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to support your people, make sure you download our quick guide for wellness warriors: “How to get your directors to buy-in to wellness initiatives and other FAQs about employee wellness and benefits in the Covid era”.

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