How to create a healthier (and happier) remote workplace

Laptop and mug on a table

Many workplaces have had to adapt and transition to staff working from home and it looks like working from home might be here to stay.  Working remotely can mean staff working across multiple locations, situations and circumstances – this is why staying connected and prioritising staff wellbeing is now more important than ever.

Here are some ways staff can stay engaged, connected and participate in workplace health and wellbeing initiatives.

Take advantage of tech

With more meetings going online, encourage remote employees to participate in walking meetings through mobile technology. Employees can also be encouraged to participate in calls/video meetings while standing, or if on a phone call, walking on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike. You can also consider running a workplace physical activity challenge. Create a challenge that remote employees can participate on a team and monitor physical activity through an online tracking system. Have your team log steps or success with an activity on a shared spreadsheet, or create a chat thread on Teams. This can create value and team-building for employees who are otherwise isolated from their co-workers – and offers accountability to reach those physical activity goals!

Be flexible

If most of the team is working remotely, your wellness program or initiative should reflect a flexible approach. Ensure you have options for at-home or on-the-road activities and look for programs that can be easily delivered in an online format. BeUpstanding is an example of a health and wellbeing program that can be delivered no matter where staff are working from. It’s a free online toolkit that supports staff to sit less and move more at work.

Socialise

If you are missing the opportunity to take a walk to get coffee, or chatting over lunch with a workmate you are not alone! It’s important to keep socially connected with colleagues, why not log into your video or phone meeting five minutes earlier or consider staying back after a call to have a non-work related ‘check in’ with the rest of the team. Virtual happy hours or coffee breaks, or even online social trivia can help your team feel connected when working from home. Make it a scheduled time and put it in a shared work calendar. Bring employees together on a regular basis for a well-being focused event. This may include a health presentation, a walk/run to raise funds for charity, or an outdoor social event. Wellness activities carried out during such visits are fun, inclusive and will help your workforce connect and stay happy and healthy.

Prioritise positivity

In a remote work context, communication is key. Keeping consistent, well worded positive messages is vital as you won’t see your workers in person. The wording of your messages should be paid special attention to, so that remote employees do not feel excluded from news and updates. While emails are more often than not the preferred way of communication, do keep in mind employees that work remotely are more dependent on emails than office-based employees; so, keeping staff informed of special wellbeing initiative announcements may get lost amongst a host of other work-related emails.

Set up a specific day and time in the week to communicate with staff such as a recurring video meeting to check in about the program so they can pencil it into their calendar. You can use this time to discuss how strategies are going, challenges, problem solve, delivering shout outs or praise for jobs well done. Facilitation of these meetings will need to be clear. Send out an agenda prior to meeting so everyone knows what is going to be discussed and can come prepared. Encourage participation in the meeting, ask questions, actively engage your team.

If your organisation is interested in taking part in a wellbeing program that remote workplace friendly, sign up to and help your staff to sit less and move more and create a happier, healthier workforce. Sign up here.