Within the last decade, working remotely has proven to bring many advantages. Time saved commuting, increased productivity and better work-life balance are only a few examples. Prior to the pandemic, most companies across the globe used the traditional office setting – and today,  the new set-up solely relies on working with your team remotely. 

This sudden change of familiarity however, didn’t bring all sunshine and roses as most people would’ve thought. With the work from home setup, some negative side effects on employee emotions came as a result. 

Studies show that 10-33% reported symptoms of anxiety and depression were brought by the pandemic. Feelings of isolation from not having anymore real-life interactions with people, anxiety from lack of control and security, and depression became more widespread. 

Source: Statista

Employee wellness programs now more than ever, can be very important to your team. It allows you to check in and offer support where needed. 

How to Promote and Boost Employee Wellness Within Remote Teams

Whether your team has been working remotely before the pandemic or began because of the pandemic – these employee wellness strategies can guide you to promote stronger relationships and to show you care about your team’s well-being. 

1. Instill a conducive remote working culture

Possibly the best way to initiate a wellness program is to begin with a conducive working culture that is suitable for everyone on the team. For remote working, a conducive office environment isn’t really possible. And while they are great, a conducive working culture covers more than comfy chairs and unlimited M&Ms, it proactively creates a more collaborative and engaging work dynamic for everyone.

Improve the existing working culture by placing more effort in listening to feedback, being more open to different ways of thinking, or incentivizing small wins. Learn what works for your team and regularly practice the behavior to establish a good working culture.

2. Host virtual team building activities

Just because the absence of “real” team building activities like tug-of-war and trust falls aren’t feasible right now – doesn’t mean your team has to give up doing fun activities altogether. Get creative by hosting virtual team building activities. It’s a simple yet fun way to gather your team to boost morale and camaraderie. It lets you continue to create meaningful relationships outside the office setting especially because time off from seeing each other can hinder it.

Engage in completely remote and virtual team building activities like story times, digital card games, or virtual happy and movie hour. The possibilities for your team get-togethers are endless and keep everyone engaged even when they aren’t in the same office

3. Equip them with the right tools

With the hundreds of programs and websites available, deciding the right tools for your team can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider like the nature of work or the most common work processes being utilized. Luckily, the right tool is out there for every team. 

Look for efficient project management softwares, scheduling meetings or conferencing reminders, and file sharing storages to create a seamless workflow between members. There is a great number of tried-and-tested collaborative tools for remote teams to boost productivity.

Having the right set of tools can tell your employees how willing you are to lessen the hassles of inefficient systems and collaborate more fruitfully. It reduces stress when they can streamline their workflows and have the best tools available to get their work done on time.

4. Show your employees you genuinely care

Gratitude goes a long way. Sometimes employees just want to be reminded of their value in the company or team. Gestures like thank you notes or small tokens of appreciation are not out of style. Especially during this time, showing signs of appreciation can lessen feelings of anxiety and isolation.

Offer support like checking in with where their headspace is at, how well they are dealing with the current situation – or go through extra measures like providing healthcare coverage. Medicare plans are a great way of showing team members’ well-being is prioritized and can reduce the feelings of worry from catching illnesses. In these uncertain times when visiting hospitals is more costly, having medical insurance to fallback on eases distress.

5. Support your remote employees’ interests

Achieving personal goals as much as career goals are important to have support by. Building relationships by getting to know your employees’ interests outside of work is valuable. 

Everyone has hobbies or passion projects they like to take up in their spare time. The best way to show support to your employee is by conversing with them about their interests. If they have online businesses or side hustles, give it a share, like, or follow on social media. 

Consider, too, getting everyone to share their interests and hobbies in online get-togethers. You can keep everyone engaged while also showing that you care about them beyond as simply employees. This shows them you value who they are as people, and sometimes that’s all we really need.

6. Hold meetings in moderation

As everyone is still doing their best to juggle work on top of their personal life all within the confines of home, holding meetings less frequently can allow employees to better balance responsibilities. 

Your team can adapt a No Meeting Day to allow everyone to worry less about not having enough time to do both personal and work responsibilities. If this doesn’t seem possible for the nature of work you’re in, do your best to hold meetings in moderation. After all, some conversations can be achieved via email or workplace chat than having to dedicate time to meet.   

7. Respect their boundaries 

Another way to boost employee wellness is a simple reminder of respecting each other’s boundaries. While we do know everyone in the team is at home, it doesn’t automatically mean work, calls, or meetings can extend at any hours of the day (or night). Frequent messaging and impromptu meetings are common time wasters to productivity. 

Do your best to maintain the boundaries of work-life balance even in the current set-up. The benefits of respecting personal space will translate to better feelings about work, thus, increasing engagement, support, and productivity to achieve team goals.   

Key Takeaways

At the end of the day, employees just want to know they are being supported and cared for by the company and team they dedicate a lot of time and effort to. By proactively using strategies that boost their well-being, it drives results that are beneficial for both the team and the company. The remote set-up shouldn’t take away from building stronger relationships and collaboration within your team.