Having a remote workforce has many benefits, but the feeling of inclusion can sometimes be cast aside. No longer are your staff members gathering in the work kitchen for a catch-up over a cup of tea nor are they spending their lunch hours together, after-work drinks or finding common ground over a hobby.
Many employees feel the sense of team can get lost when they’re working remotely, so it’s important to make everyone feel valued and included. You’ll have a wide range of personalities, from extroverts to introverts and everyone in between. That’s why we’ve split these activities into group and solo ideas because NoHQ understands that all remote workers are different.
Keeping remote employees happy and healthy doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. In this article, here are some wellness activities that you can provide as a perk to your employees.
Group wellness activities for remote employees
Scheduling a mixture of sessions of Zoom workouts means employees can choose what they enjoy, or try a new fitness class. Hire an instructor, set up a timetable and encourage employees to participate (with or without their camera on). Some sports and exercise brands are at the forefront of this, such as Sweaty Betty offering weekly yoga lunchtime classes.
It’s a well-known fact that many of us are motivated by a challenge. Why not create a fitness challenge for employees to track and share with the group? Perhaps a running plan that they can join or even just setting a fitness goal for accountability? Celebrate your weekly wins via time tracking or a fitness app.
Daily steps challenge
Unfortunately, employees may be at varying levels of fitness, due to a myriad of reasons. A daily steps challenge could be an easier way to help staff improve their health. Whilst 10,000 steps a day are recommended, employees can set their own daily target so they don’t feel pressured.
Meditation is a mindful tool and group meditation can be even more powerful. However, meditation is very personal, so a guided version with optional cameras creates a safe space. You can encourage participants to share their thoughts after each session but only if they want to. Apple and Google encourage their staff to give meditation a go because it’s important to get into the right mindset before starting off your working day.
Another workshop idea is yoga. After long stints sitting at a desk, it’s important to stretch and relieve internal pressure. They’re perfect for unwinding so a late Friday afternoon session will have your employees feeling refreshed for the weekend break!
Working from home usually means close proximity to the kitchen, which in turn can lead to unhealthy snacking and inconsistent meal times. Encourage staff to choose healthy options by hosting sessions with nutritionists. You could offer one-on-one consultations first to see what their main pain points are before hosting specific workshops to suit their needs.
Many food companies, such as Campbell Soup, offer cooking classes because choosing healthier food options can sometimes be time-consuming and expensive. Hire a chef to teach your staff about healthy snacks, batch cooking and cheaper alternatives. You could even host a cookalong!
Group therapy/life coaching
Therapy is either expensive or inaccessible. Offering a wellness package shows that you as an employer value your employees’ mental health and wellbeing. Allow your employees to choose from group or individual therapy as not all will be open to group sessions. Innocent Drinks offer confidential staff assistance, which is available 24 hours a day for any employees to talk to someone.
Mental health workshops
A therapist may find that there are overriding themes that come up during therapy sessions. If they feed this back to the employer, they can then hire experts to host workshops on such themes. These sessions could cover work-life balance, burnout, self-confidence or how to improve your sleep. The charity Mind works alongside businesses to offer their support services in return for fundraising.
Goal sharing sessions
If you have a tight-knit team who are high achievers, they might want to set goals for accountability. Whilst you can encourage work-based goals, it’s also important for staff to be able to set whatever goals they choose, from self-care to finances.
Wellness can also include exercising your brains and what better way to do that than games? Zoom quizzes became so popular during lockdown and many companies have continued with them. A manager can host or employees could take it in turns.
Virtual happy hour
Friday Fizz is a great option for having an early finish and to help staff relax. However, accept that many staff members might not drink alcohol so encourage them to drink whatever drink of choice, whether it’s Processco or a cup of tea! Having a catch-up also allows staff to bond in a relaxed environment.
Reading has definitely increased in popularity, with access to eBooks and audiobooks. Employees who want to participate can take it in turns to choose a book of the month before coming together as a group to discuss it once you’ve all completed it. HireBetter started a book club back in 2019 and credited it with making their workplace much more enjoyable!
Just like mental health and nutrition workshops, financial sessions can benefit so many. Employees may need help budgeting because even though working from home can be cheaper, the cost of living increase might be affecting them more than you know. Offering tips and guidance could improve their financial standings and release their stress.
Whilst many companies host video calls meetings, some employees may like the idea of co-working occasionally. You could take charge as management to set them up or allow employees to sort it amongst themselves.
Slack has become increasingly popular for remote companies to communicate with employees. Think of it as an instant messaging service but you can have different threads that people can add themselves to as well as private messaging.
New staff may be overwhelmed with remote working or younger staff may need guidance in working within your company. Set them up with a mentor or buddy so they always have someone they can reach out to. Ask for volunteers within the business and we’re sure you’ll find plenty of enthusiastic people!
Lunch and learn sessions
Whilst we do encourage staff to take a lunch break away from their desks, lunch and learn sessions can be set up on occasion for specialized workshops. They could relate to your workplace, the industry or any topic that seems appropriate. In fact, some banks, such as Monzo, offer knowledge-based sessions where staff can set up their own workshops to share their expertise across the company.
Individual wellness activities for remote employees
Many employees find the work from home work-life balance incredibly difficult with it all being under one roof. Meal subscriptions help to save time whilst eating nutritious, balanced meals for the entire family. They take less preparation and shopping time and get delivered right to your front door!
Hosting wellness sessions on Zoom is all well and good but what happens when employees sign off for the day? Giving them access to health apps, from Calm to Audible, allows them to continue on their wellness journey any time, day or night.
As well as online solutions, you can also offer gym memberships, access to local facilities, beauty and sports treatments and cleaning services. Working from home means getting out of the house is important to encourage them to! Larger companies, such as Ernst & Young, usually lead the way here and often include access to health appointments, such as sight tests and physiotherapy.
Access to e-learning courses
Furthering their knowledge and skills is what employees should always be encouraged to do. Purchasing a membership on their behalf or giving them vouchers to access extra courses is a way of the company showing that they value their education.
Home office allowance
If you want your employees to work from home, give them access to a home office budget to buy a suitable desk, comfortable chair and any equipment they need to undertake their job. You’ll often find that when a company is loyal to Apple, many employees prefer Microsoft and vice versa!
Flexible work schedules
Remote wellness jobs should allow for flexible working but many businesses still operate with 9-5 weekday business hours. If employees can get their work done in less time, let them! Trial a four-day week, allow staff to work any time day or night and let them make their own work schedules, like The7Stars, a London-based advertising agency, to work around their lifestyles and families.
If video sessions aren’t an employee’s thing, you could record as many as possible (unless they’re private sessions) so they can watch at any time. Create an internal resource center for any employee to access 24/7. They can catch-up on sessions they missed or use it as a reference tool.
By giving your employees access to as many resources to aid their health and wellbeing, it will allow them to thrive and focus when working and fully relax, refresh and re-cooperate when it’s the weekend. The reduced stress will help employees avoid burnout and will also create a healthy working environment.
Top tips: This could lead into wellness retreat activity ideas, where you select a handful of these activities together for your employees to enjoy. Host a day-long event so your staff know just how much you value their health and wellbeing!