Many companies are realizing the benefits of employee wellness programs. They motivate your team members to live healthier lifestyles inside and outside work, improving their overall health and mood.
Distributed organizations, however, are finding wellness programs more challenging to plan, launch, and maintain. How can you encourage people to prioritize healthy living when your communication is strictly virtual? Even if you don’t initiate a full-fledged program, integrating health into your company’s overall remote culture is more feasible than you think. Here are a few virtual wellness activities you and your employees can do even though you’re not together in person:
Have everyone complete step challenges separately. Team members can set goals like 8,000 steps a day (the recommended amount is 10,000, so 8,000 could be an excellent place to start if they need a more attainable goal) and go for walks around their neighborhoods or on a treadmill. They can use a pedometer or their phones to track their steps and submit them at the end of each week to prove they reached their goals and earn a reward for completion.
You can help team members reach their step counts by implementing walking meetings into your operations. With an app like Spot, it doesn’t matter that you’re not walking next to each other; you can have productive conversations while attendees stroll around their respective parks or neighborhoods. Walking makes you more creative, and it’s a great way to get exercise throughout the day.
Virtual workouts are becoming increasingly popular, so why not do them together? You can have everyone watch the same YouTube video and turn their devices on so you can communicate or hire a fitness instructor to live stream a workout session. Not everyone may have the same equipment at home, so allot everyone a budget for necessary weights and resistance bands, or provide a gym stipend for those who don’t have the space.
Have a professional meditation instructor take your employees through a guided session. There are countless benefits to meditation — including enhanced self-awareness and reduced stress — but many people don’t know how to take advantage of those benefits. There’s more to meditation than sitting down and closing your eyes, so bringing in someone to guide your employees for a few sessions until they master their breathing techniques can teach them to meditate more effectively (you don’t have to stop at a few sessions, though — it can be a regular thing!).
Meditation is often associated with yoga, which is another activity you can do virtually. If everyone has a yoga mat and space to stretch, you can bring in an instructor to guide participants through webcam or voice call sessions.
Everyone knows diet is an essential part of wellness, but changing our habits is easier said than done. An easy virtual wellness activity is to bring in a dietician or nutritionist (there are legal differences, so make sure to read up on them and understand who you’re hiring) to advise about eating healthier and making better decisions. Food isn’t something anyone should feel guilty about, but if someone needs more or less of a particular nutrient, they should know where to get it or how to avoid it.
You can put your diet lessons into practice by hosting cooking classes that teach your employees how to prepare healthy meals. Cooking together, albeit remotely, can be a fun activity where participants follow steps together and discuss the results afterward. Best of all, team members can cook the meals they learn in the future, adding a few new dishes to their home chef menu.
Here’s another idea for someone you can hire to give a course or demonstration: a paramedic. First-aid is an essential part of health that many companies overlook when planning in-person or virtual wellness activities. Ensure your employees know how to provide basic medical care to others and themselves — you never know when they’ll need it.
Online happy hour may not come to mind when you think of virtual wellness activities, but social interaction is a critical part of our overall well-being. Humans are social creatures, and one of the disadvantages of working remotely is that employees don’t have the kind of conversation and engagement other workers do in person. It’s easy for distributed employees to feel disconnected from each other, so making time for discussion about non-work-related subjects can give team members something to look forward to.
On a related note, hosting a digital game night is a fantastic way to bring people together for light-hearted fun. There are all kinds of online games you can play (and not all require video access), so ask your employees which ones are their favorites and give everyone an opportunity for competition and laughter. It’s a perfect team-building activity.
The space you work in has a significant impact on your mental health. One of the best parts about working remotely is you have complete control over yours — you can work in co-working spaces, cafes, libraries, and of course, at home. If your employees prefer the latter option, give them a budget to design their space however would make them happy and productive. You can suggest ideas like adding plants, wallpaper, art, an ergonomic chair, a standing desk, and more. Everyone can share pictures of their workspaces once decorating is complete!
Implementing health programs and supporting your employees to live healthier lifestyles may seem more difficult in remote organizations, but there are plenty of virtual wellness activities you can have your team participate in. You can check out Spot for an online tool that facilitates remote connection that doesn’t confine you to your desk, as well as its blog for more information about the benefits of incorporating wellness into your overall work culture.
SPOT FOR TEAMS