The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies and individuals worldwide to adapt to a new way of working – from home. At the initial onset, organizations scrambled to ensure that employees could effectively work from home. However, with remote work becoming normalized, the focus has shifted onto employee wellness. Remote work has its advantages, such as increased productivity, cost efficiency and a better work-life balance. Yet it also presents challenges such as isolation, blurred boundaries, and mental health concerns.
The impact of remote work on employee wellness can be significant, and it is essential for organizations to take proactive measures to combat these issues. The lack of physical interaction with colleagues, monotony, and absence of workplace structure can all hamper employee wellbeing. Fortunately, organizations have some best practices they can adopt to ensure their employees stay healthy and motivated concerning wellness.
Encourage Regular Breaks
Remote workers are more prone to prolonged sitting, which can lead to poor posture, backaches, and other associated illnesses. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks can help keep them rejuvenated and energized. Encourage them to take a walk, have lunch outside, go to the gym, or any other activity that helps break the monotony.
Promote Open Communication
Remote work can be lonely and isolating. Encouraging regular check-ins helps employees feel supported, connected, and engaged with their work. Utilize video conferencing tools like Zoom or Teams can facilitate personal interactions with co-workers.
Provide Necessary Equipment and Support
Remote work demands a certain level of independence, but it also requires the right equipment and support. Ensure that employees have the right equipment to work from home, such as ergonomic chairs, desks, and laptops. When necessary, ensure that they have access to IT support to troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise.
Set Boundaries and Expectations
Remote work can blur the lines between work and personal life, leading to fatigue and burnout. Setting boundaries and expectations can help create a clear separation between work and personal life. Encourage employees to switch off their devices when they’re done working and encourage them to utilize their paid-time-off when necessary. Being present for your employees can also help guide them on an individual level if they need assistance.
Create a Positive Culture
A positive culture can do wonders for employee wellness, even remotely. Encourage employees to take part in non-work-related activities, such as team building activities or even socializing virtually as coworkers. These team building activities could be virtual happy hours, team competitions, or even doing virtual workout sessions.
Remote work has contributed to a significant shift in employee wellness. Unfortunately, remote workers are more vulnerable to loneliness, isolation, and burnout. Thus, it’s up to companies to create a supportive culture that promotes employee wellness. When team members are healthy and motivated, they are more productive and efficient in their work, ultimately leading to happier customers and increasing company performance.