Employee Wellness: 6 Engagement Tips for Working Remotely
What’s the game plan for employee wellness during a global pandemic?
If that’s been an afterthought in the wake of COVID-19, school closures, stay-at-home orders, and rising cases of infections, you’re not alone.
Fortunately, many employers adapted quickly by using tech tools to transition to working remotely. And it might be that way for another month, maybe longer.
“Projections and models across the board for COVID-19 are accounting for a reduction in mobility because of social distancing,” Harvard University epidemiologist Dr. John Brownstein said in a recent interview. “So it’s way too soon to declare any kind of victory.”
So how do you keep employee wellness front and center when no one comes into the office, the usual in-person meetings are gone, and exercise classes are off limits due to social distancing?
Here are 6 engagement tips to support employee wellness while working remotely:
1. Virtual wave with a video check-in
When you’re working remotely, there’s no meeting around the water cooler, impromptu plans to grab some lunch, or even the casual how-was-your-weekend office conversation. Sometimes that social connection is enough to help encourage employee wellness.
So how do you give a virtual wave when your team is working remotely?
- Offer encouragement
- Ask about family and friends
- Talk about managing health and safety during COVID-19
- Discuss diet and exercise during stay-at-home orders
- Share tips and ideas to improve productivity while working remotely
If a live video check-in doesn’t work, record a video message about employee wellness you can share via email, a private social media group, or text message. It’s also a great time for health coaches to check in with employees.
2. Reward employees for COVID-19 wellness choices
Your employee wellness program already rewards employees for making healthy lifestyle choices. But chances are pretty good you don’t have any incentives or rewards in place for COVID-19. Fortunately, the FitLyfe platform makes it easy to change this. Choose a point value and reward employees for things like:
- Wearing a mask when going to the store, restaurant, pharmacy, or trip for essential supplies
- Wiping down and sterilizing surfaces (counter tops, door knobs, handles, etc.)
- Sharing toilet paper supplies with someone who found the store shelves empty
- Checking on a co-worker, friend, or family member
- Staying home in quarantine for 14 days if necessary
3. Communication: Stay in touch with employees
With stay-at-home orders in most places throughout the U.S., and around the world, it’s easy for employees to feel isolated if they don’t hear from you, their manager, or even your executive team. Stay in touch by phone, email, text message, video conferencing, and the FitLyfe platform. Employees want to know things like:
- The status of their job and company during COVID-19
- Paychecks or layoffs?
- Expectations and availability for working remotely (many employees are at home working AND taking care of children or family members)
- The status of projects in the works before COVID-19
- Changes in responsibilities for products, services, and daily workflow
- The plan for employee wellness program rewards and incentives
Stay in touch. Communicate. It’s the best way to maintain a positive relationship with your staff. Keep them in the loop, and you’ll keep the door open to help you create a culture of health.
4. Use FitQuiz to measure employee health during COVID-19
Maybe working remotely isn’t such a bad thing for employee wellness. Or maybe it’s a real struggle for your team. Are stress levels on the rise or about the same?
Now’s a great time to use FitQuiz to collect responses and compile data about employee health.
Create a short quiz or survey and ask your employees or participants to complete it. Offer incentive points to complete the quiz, and use the data to inform your employee wellness strategy and programming.
Some questions to consider for a quiz or survey:
- How stressed out or worried are you about COVID-19?
- Do you have masks, gloves, soap, hand sanitizer, to protect yourself from COVID-19?
- Do you know anyone (family member, friend, co-worker) who tested positive for COVID-19?
- What tools or resources would improve remote work for you?
- How would you rate your diet, exercise, and sleep habits working from home?
5. Host a health challenge
Did your daily routine get turned upside down with COVID-19? That’s true for most people.
The daily gym routine is gone. The walk around the office with co-workers isn’t happening. And those drop-in office moments to talk about healthy recipes, weekend races, and wellness wins are on hold…without a definite date of returning
Instead of leaving all that uncertainty hanging in the air, keep your remote team connected by hosting a health challenge. Keep in mind most gyms, parks, and community centers are closed, limiting activities for most people.
Try a weekly challenge or a monthly challenge. Here are some ideas for your remote workforce:
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night
- Take at least 10,000 steps per day
- Complete 100 push-ups per day
- Keep a daily food journal
Wearable Devices can upload data from Mobile apps making it easier to keep track of exercise and data with a smartphone. FitLyfe is directly connected with Apple Health and Google Fit and can upload data that is pulled from 3rd party apps when synced with the FitLyfe platform. Check in with your employees and ask them to share their wins, struggles, tips and advice.
6. Provide at-home workouts
Get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day at least five days a week. Even in the face of COVID-19, that advice hasn’t changed to promote health and prevent disease.
But it’s definitely harder with gyms closed, fitness classes cancelled, or the employee wellness center closed until further notice. So how can you help your employees stay active?
Provide at-home workouts. If you have a personal trainer on staff or contract with a gym or fitness professional to host on-site classes, invite them to lead virtual classes your employees can attend. FitLyfe’s Video Library module allows wellness managers to upload group exercise videos which provide variety to the remote employees’ workout routine.
If that’s not an option, direct employees to yoga, tai chi, or free at-home workouts like this one from the American Council on Exercise.
Examples of bodyweight exercises employees can do at home include:
- Jumping jacks
- Mountain climbers
- Jogging in place
And of course there’s always the chance an employee has a treadmill, stationary bike, fitness machine, or free weights that have been collecting dust.
Employee wellness for a remote workforce
We’re definitely living in unprecedented times. Right now COVID-19 dominates the headlines. But employee wellness still matters, and it’s possible to sustain your wellness program even with a remote workforce.
Want more ideas on how to use the FitLyfe platform to support employee wellness and a remote workforce? Schedule a demo to learn more.
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