Millions of Americans are working from home, and even after the pandemic, many are likely to continue doing so. As employers realize that remote teams are possible — and effective — there will likely be an upswing in adoption when the dust settles. By the end of next year, 25 to 30% of the workforce will work remotely multiple days a week.
Consequently, many employers are beginning to consider the health of these remote teams. How will they encourage them to stay physically and mentally fit?
Here are a few ways to devote time and energy to your remote employees and ensure they’re happy and healthy, even from afar.
1. Establish Work Hours
Employees do best when they have a regular work schedule and know when they will start and finish a day at the office. However, working from home can throw a wrench in anyone’s schedule.
Encourage regular and consistent work hours by only allowing employees access to portals and virtual workspaces during regular business hours. You might also restrict access on weekends to remind your team to take a break and reset.
2. Schedule Regular Meetings
Scheduling periodic meetings throughout the workday might also help employees stay on task. If they know they have to check in with the rest of the team every few hours, they’ll be more apt to focus and work when they’re supposed to. These regular meetings can also serve as a time to collaborate and brainstorm as a group.
3. Track and Reward Productivity
Social media, television and even the family dog can distract employees and affect their productivity. Promote focus and help them limit these distractions with productivity trackers.
These software programs — like Hubstaff and Toggl — can take computer screenshots, trace mouse movements and detect when employees are idle. Plus, most will use the information to automatically create a detailed productivity report, so you can monitor slower workers and reward those who produce fast, accurate work.
4. Encourage Physical Activity
Exercise is incredibly beneficial to your team’s health, as well, especially during a pandemic. Regular exercise can improve mood, promote better sleep and even help the body fight disease.
Encourage physical activity by taking a virtual fitness class together or hosting one yourself. You might even create a weight-loss or workout challenge to promote some friendly competition.
5. Revisit Company Health Plans
Check in with your employee assistance program and coordinate support for team members who may need help. Revisit company health plans to learn about the services they are offering during the pandemic.
If coverage doesn’t include mental health support, consider adding it to the plan to better support employees. Then, send a newsletter to your team to remind them to connect with these programs if they need to.
6. Provide Home Office Supplies
Most employees have Wi-Fi or some form of internet connection at home. However, some may not have access to a laptop, docking station or necessary software.
Provide the WFH essentials they need and consider throwing in a pair of headphones and a laptop stand to boost their morale. Additionally, if there’s room in the budget, consider gifting them a comfortable desk chair or let them borrow the one they typically use at the office.
7. Host Virtual Hangouts
Loneliness is at epidemic levels in America, where 61% of people report feeling lonely and isolated from others. Of course, the pandemic is only making matters worse, and working from home isn’t helping.
Boost your team’s mood and remind them to connect with each other by hosting virtual hangouts. Plan these gatherings after office hours to encourage employees to have some fun, converse and reconnect with friends.
Recognizing the Impact of WFH
For many, working from home is the new normal, something they’ve already grown accustomed to. However, for most employees, switching to work-from-home life has been a challenge. Anxiety levels are high, home life is overwhelming, the daily news is worrisome — to say the least — and work is just the icing on the cake.
Thus, it’s essential to understand where your employees are, both mentally and physically. Recognize when someone is struggling and show them grace. Be flexible and support your team during this time and, remember, everyone’s just doing the best they can.
About the Author:
Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded. He writes about cars, fitness, the outdoors and more. Follow @TModded on Twitter for more articles from the Modded team.