With salaried employees asking for more flexibility and the self-employed economy growing, more and more of the workforce is embracing working from home.
Many companies now offer remote working as a benefit when recruiting new staff. Recent research by Aviva found that one in seven UK employees works at home, and another study found that 62% of companies now allow employees to work remotely. Remote working contributes to the growing trend to create a more flexible and friendly work environment for workers; with changes including flexible working hours, as well as the aforementioned working from home.
Bolstering the case for employees that work from home, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace survey found no difference in employee engagement between those that worked at home and those who worked full time at the office. There are many benefits of remote working for business and employees; however ensuring your staff are engaged with both their teammates, their work and the employee wellbeing programme can be challenging.
3 ways to engage staff working from home:
- Offer well-rounded initiatives that consider more than just physical health
- Encourage separation between work and home life
- Share employee successes regularly
In an office environment, getting employees engaged in wellness, whilst not easy, is relatively straightforward. Staff can see colleagues joining the lunchtime jogging group, and will notice when a team member loses weight or when someone stops taking smoking breaks. They will also be able to see when staff members cycle in to work, or leave on time (as opposed to working late). HR can also actively encourage participation in weekly face-to-face meetings, and employees will be exposed to motivational signs and notes that can be put up on walls to encourage participation.
When employees work remotely, they are not exposed to the same motivational cues or team camaraderie in their day to day working lives. However, they can still benefit from the improved health and wellbeing that comes from participation in a well-organised employee wellness programme.
Here are three ways to help staff who work from home stay motivated to take advantage of the benefits of your corporate wellbeing programme:
Offer well-rounded initiatives that consider the whole person, not just their physical health
Often wellness programmes centre on the physical health and fitness of employees, including initiatives such as: in-house yoga teachers, gym memberships and activity trackers such as fit-bits. Yet, wellbeing also relates to a person’s mental, emotional and financial health. Employee wellbeing programmes should encompass more than exercise challenges and nutrition guidance. Mental health support, behavioural change initiatives such as reducing alcohol intake and financial guidance is just as important.
80% of workers admit to feeling stressed whilst at work, with half of them feeling like they need help coping, according to a study by American Institute of Stress. Including stress management and healthy coping mechanism training that can be accessed online can have a massive impact on the wellbeing of workers.
Whether they’re in London, Lisbon or Las Vegas, employees can benefit from online training and challenges. Online training that focuses on behaviour change, such as our One Year No Beer 30, 90 or 365 day alcohol-free challenges can encourage employee participation wherever in the world they are.
Encourage disconnection from work after hours
Whilst it is often assumed that working at home improves work-life balance, it is not always the case. Working from home can often lead to blurred boundaries between work and home life. Remote working may allow for greater flexibility to manage childcare or cleaning the house, it also often leads to skipped lunch breaks and checking emails before the official start of the work day. A study from Northeastern University found that remote working increases family-to-work conflict and work-to-family conflict, and that an inability to disengage from work intrudes on employees down time.
Employers need to set clear expectations for their staff; when they expect them to be online, what they expect them to deliver and making it clear that work/life separation is important. Encouraging employees to set up working spaces in their homes can also help them to maintain their wellbeing. Whilst not everyone has a spare room, a corner with a desk that is only used for working can help. Adding a remote working fund provision into your employee wellbeing is also an option – staff are more likely to set up working spaces in their homes, or go to a local co-working space, when employers pay for them.
Share employee successes regularly
There are many options to keep in touch with employees who work from home – it is not just phone calls! Services like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and Skype work brilliantly for keeping teams connected and making sure people are available and at their desk.
Sharing successes is a key part of keeping a team connected and motivated, and sharing wellbeing successes also helps to keep your staff engaged in your employee wellbeing programme. Whether you create a dedicated communication channel (via Skype group chat or Slack) or allocate time on a weekly company calls, encouraging staff to communicate their wellbeing wins (eg. updating their will, a daily meditation practice, or hitting 10,000 steps each day for a week) shows them that you are serious about their participation in the wellbeing programme.
Many employees thrive when they are given the opportunity to work from home and set their own schedule. Following the tips above, will help to demonstrate your commitment to your team to stay happy, healthy and connected helping to ensure your remote workers have a pleasant and productive working experience.
Interested in how One Year No Beer can improve the impact of your wellbeing programme by helping employees reduce their alcohol consumption through our alcohol-free challenges?