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August 13, 2021

4 Healthy Initiatives to Improve Remote Team Performance And Wellness

With the pandemic having isolated employees, the need for workplace wellness has never been more imperative. In fact, a recent study by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) indicates that individuals who worked from home experienced huge increases in mental distress. NatCen researchers urged employers to prioritise social interactions and work-life balance among remote workers as these factors seem to be contributing the most to their stress levels.

Businesses need to take more proactive strategies to support the wellbeing of their employees. This not only reduces the likelihood of your employees reaching a crisis point, it can also improve your team’s performance, boost morale, and make employees feel valued. If you want to promote wellness in your remote team, here are some initiatives you can take.

1. Host virtual team-building sessions

Without a physical space to share with colleagues, employees lack the incentive to get to know their colleagues, which can lead to poor communication and loss of motivation.

Hosting a virtual team-building session will help to cultivate a better sense of togetherness. If you want to boost morale among your employees, host a team-building session centered on recreation, like group games or virtual happy hours. You can start with our list of ‘6 Activities to Build Strong Remote Teams’, which outlines that you need to create a watercooler environment where employees feel casual and comfortable around each other. Start a book club, host trivia nights, or even just an informal ‘pub’ night to get the ball rolling.

2. Roll out virtual seminars on wellness topics

Webinars can be a convenient and time-efficient way of providing new knowledge to your employees. Because webinars are hosted online, you are no longer limited to hosts that live in proximity to your workplace, giving your employees a much wider pool of experts to choose from.

According to Silicon Republic’s feature on how companies are caring for employee wellbeing, this has worked for pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb. They launched their Mental Health Ambassador Programme in which they host webinars on mental wellbeing and provide weekly online gym classes. Meanwhile at EY, employees are offered daily live workout sessions and webinars on sleep, mindfulness, and meditation.

If you want to help your employees deal with stress, you can use webinars to teach them relaxation activities like yoga or meditation. You can also consult experts that offer training in skills like time management and organization.

3. Incorporate how to disconnect into your policies

Setting boundaries between work and life can be harder for people working remotely, as their physical environment doesn’t change when they log off. Regardless of the industry you work in, disconnecting from your computer and devices is crucial to avoiding burnout. In this article about burnout on Later, clinical psychologist Dr. Michaela Dunbar states that burnout can lead to a lack of sleep, emotional fatigue, physical exhaustion, and trouble concentrating. She also states that burnout can be avoided if employees take the time to fully disconnect from their screens.

Employers can help reduce the risk by enforcing disconnecting as a policy. Prohibit your employees from logging into their work emails or replying to work-related messages after the workday is done.
And, from your end, refrain from sending work communications after hours, as this practice will only exacerbate their stress.

4. Incentivise vacations

Employees might be reluctant to take leaves even if their companies provide the option. Research commissioned by Perkbox shows that in 2019, 67% of employed females and 59% of employed males in the UK experience “guilty vacation syndrome,” which refers to the temptation to cancel or delay vacations due to guilt. Many tend to think that taking a vacation is equivalent to abandoning work obligations.

In 2021, more employers are seeing the advantages of paying workers for taking holiday leaves. In fact, LinkedIn gave all of its employees a week off to prevent burnout, while US-based multinational firm PwC offered money per full week of vacation. On top of encouraging time off, incentivising vacations make your employees aware that their wellbeing is of importance to the company.

Every business is only as good as its employees. When you incorporate wellness into your leadership, you get to bring out the best in your team by helping every employee bring out the best in their individual selves.

About the Guest Author
JBunner is a management consultant for small businesses. It’s her life’s passion to help small businesses succeed, having experience as an entrepreneur herself. When she’s not working, she pours her time into pet photography, with her pair of dachshunds as her muses.

If you are looking for a remote working solution or interested in learning how you can use virtual reality as part of your employee wellness programmes, get in touch! We are always happy to have a chat.