25 Virtual Wellness Ideas for Remote Employees
Employee health across the global has severely suffered.
While the shift to remote work has been a blessing for many, it's been beyond challenging for others.
Join us as we break down the importance of wellness activities for remote employees. We also give you detailed, fun, and creative tips to make your own workplace one bit more engaging.
👑 Why Employee Wellness Matters in Hybrid/Remote Work and Post-Covid Period
Remote working may give employees flexibility and autonomy to dictate their work hours. At the same time, working from home is challenging mental health in many of us.
Monotony is harmful to productivity because it leads to stagnation. As such, employers are increasing their efforts towards improving wellness for their remote workers.
Here’s why employee wellness strategies are essential:
- They ensures productivity by promoting good health among workers
- Employees get a chance to decompress and cope with stressful work situations
- They reduce employee turnover rates by boosting engagement
- They foster a sense of community among workers.
🏔25 Easy-to-Launch Wellness Activities for Remote Employees
💪 Host a Physical Workout Session
You might also have made the experience:
Employees who work remotely may not always ... move very much.
Too often, the workday begins only minutes after leaving the bed - and ends in a similar way as it's started.
Needless to say, that's not the healthiest lifestyle.
One way to keep people active and healthy is to introduce online workouts.
Have a trained coach or fitness expert guide the employees through timed workouts before or after work. It will help them release all the stress and tension from their jobs while maintaining health and wellness.
Set aside a few minutes to host these sessions at the end of work.
Why this helps increase activity:
- By making it a social activity, people encourage each other to participate
- The whole activity becomes more present by scheduling a fixed time in people's calendars.
👣 Daily Step Challenges
Introduce daily step challenges for your virtual employees. They are fun and extremely easy to set up. What's more, they don't require a lot of time or resources. Simply create a list of daily challenges for your employees to achieve.
It's the perfect way to get them active and break the monotony of work. All you need is a smartwatch, smartphone, or fitness tracker to track activity—spice up the actions by introducing incentives such as bonuses and other rewards to motivate your remote employees.
🏃♂️ Walk & Talk Routines
Talking about regular exercise - another way to do so is through simple routines that pair up 2-3 people regularly - so they can meet (in-person or virtually) for a walk. It's that simple.
To make the matching and messaging as simple as can be, we've created a template for this on Zavvy.
🚰 Host a Hydration Challenge
Scientists recommend six to eight glasses a day for the average human being. But unfortunately, most of us struggle with maintaining our water intake. So, what better way to get your employees to hydrate than by turning it into a fun challenge?
Again, make it even more proactive by offering rewards to the winners. People are more likely to perform better when rewarded for their efforts.
🧎 Guided Meditations
Working remotely can take a mental toll on your employees as it's so easy to get lost in endless tasks and narrow screens.
Meditating has numerous benefits, including:
- Improving one's self-awareness
- Reducing stress
- Improving one's creativity
- Teaching people how to cope with stressful situations
- Giving people a clearer perspective on issues that may be stressing them
- Improving quality of life
- Helping to enhance the quality of sleep
There are several ways to perform meditation:
- Have a coach to guide the employees through a group session
- Introduce a virtual meditation session
- Through meditation apps
🧘 Virtual Yoga
There are several types of yoga, each with distinctive benefits. For example, Hatha Yoga focuses on improving your breath control and flexibility. It uses poses that build your muscle endurance while improving your lung capacity.
Another example is hot yoga. This style of yoga uses heat and humidity to achieve maximum relaxation. Participants perform various poses for ninety minutes in hot conditions. It has numerous benefits such as:
- Improving flexibility
- Improves cardiovascular function
- Reducing stress.
Make the virtual yoga sessions interactive by using different styles each time. This way, you break the dullness and improve participation among employees. Alternatively, you can hire a professional yoga instructor to guide them through the classes.
🛠 Online Wellness Retreats and Workshops
Contrary to common belief, team buildings can also occur in the virtual space through online wellness retreats. Create an online workshop for your remote employees. Here are some wellness games and activities that would be perfect for your retreat:
- Storytelling sessions
- Open mic
- Stand up comedy
- Yoga and Pilates classes
- Nutrition classes
- Goal-setting sessions.
🧑🍳 Host Cooking Masterclasses
Host a virtual cooking activity where employees share their favorite recipes.
Sometimes remote work can get hectic, making cooking a chore. However, our bodies need the energy to function, and this fuel comes from food. So neglecting essential tasks like cooking can negatively impact your health in the long run.
To combat this, hire a professional chef to guide employees through cooking classes. We recommend spacing the activities in weekly intervals to get enough time to apply the lessons.
📖 Introduce an Office Cookbook
This activity is an excellent way to complement your cooking classes. Host an open forum where employees can share and teach new recipes. Make the activity more interactive by creating an office cookbook.
It's the perfect way to foster collaboration, thereby improving office relations. In addition, employees get to share their cultures and heritage. This way, you bring people together, promoting good relations even outside of work.
🍛 Meal Subscriptions
"What do I eat for lunch? What do I cook for dinner?"
These are questions that most of us dread. Cooking every day can be a chore, especially when juggling work. So do your workers a favor by offering meal subscriptions.
The best part is that meal planning services are available for people who either hate the hassle of cooking or simply cannot spare the time. A healthy diet is vital for good health and productivity.
🎤 Introduce Comedy Sessions
A good laugh heals a lot of hurt. — Madeleine L'Engle.
Studies show that laughing improves one's immune function by releasing antibodies against infection. To add to that, laughing releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that reduce pain and improve your well-being.
Introduce open mic and stand-up sessions to your weekly meetings. Encourage employees to participate by offering incentives. For example, offer a bonus or reward for the employee who makes the best joke.
Incentives encourage more employees to participate, thereby improving teamwork among your workers. These comedy sessions help break the ice, creating a conducive environment where employees can be their true authentic selves.
🕹️ Play Virtual Games
A great way to improve employee well-being for your remote workers is by playing virtual games. Games such as Among Us, War of the Wizards, What's On My Desk are a few great examples.
They are a great way to destress after a long day. Similarly, they give employees a chance to socialize outside the formal work environment.
👥 Group Therapy Sessions
There are a lot of misconceptions about therapy. As a result, people are often reluctant to seek help whenever they encounter mental or emotional challenges. Take the initiative and demystify these stereotypes by introducing group therapy sessions.
Your employees are more likely to respond better to therapy if they go through the sessions in pairs or groups. Create a safe space to discuss the challenges they face while working remotely.
Encourage them to share their experiences in both their professional and personal lives. You can also invite a licensed therapist or mental health professional to chair these forums. Your employees are more likely to participate when they have a qualified person to guide them through the process.
On Zavvy, there's a resilience training you can launch to combine theoretical input, exercises, and group sessions.
🌱 Life Coaching
Consider providing life coaching classes for your remote employees as part of your out-of-the-box wellness ideas. These sessions will teach them how to:
- Improve their self-awareness
- Appreciate different perspectives
- Cultivate a healthy work-life balance
- Grow and maintain healthy relationships - in their professional and personal lives.
🏢 Mental Health Forums
Although remote work offers flexibility, it alienates employees from the rest of the world. Spending days cooped up in the house can take a toll on them mentally. A great way to improve their mental health is by introducing mental health forums.
Make sure you've created a safe and non-judgemental space where they can open up. Encourage your employees to share their struggles. Talking about a problem is a positive step towards solving it.
📝 Offer Resources
Create a database with helpful resources for your remote employees. Make sure it's as exhaustive as possible - include links to websites, YouTube videos, blog posts, and books. It can contain information such as:
- First aid
- How to cope with stress
- Work tips
- Life advice.
👨🏫 Online Learning and Seminars
Online learning and seminars are the perfect opportunities to teach your employees soft skills. It's also an extra advantage for your company as they will grow in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment.
What's more, online learning allows employees to pursue higher education in the comfort of their homes. Lastly, it improves employee engagement which leads to higher retention rates.
💰 Teach Financial Education
Conversations about money and finances are usually sore topics for most.
The lack of openness and conversation about the subject makes people prone to bad financial decisions. A solution is introducing finance classes where you bring experts to talk to the employees.
These classes will give them tips on:
- How to avoid debt and bankruptcy
- Improving credit
- How to create a reasonable budget and stick to it.
These lessons will help employees make better financial decisions and teach them essential skills such as investing and saving for retirement.
📚 Online Book Club
Hosting an online book club is another great addition to your list of wellness ideas for remote employees. It's the ideal way to get them to socialize and make long-lasting friendships beyond work.
Book clubs have other proven benefits such as:
- Improving skills such as creative writing and critical thinking
- Improving imagination
- Lowering stress levels
- Boosting teamwork and collaboration.
👬 Create a Buddy Program
Put your remote workers in pairs through a buddy program. Pairing them up gives them a support system they can lean to whenever they're going through tough times.
They get a safe space to share their wins, give progress updates, hold each other accountable and even look for solutions together.
🪑 Improve The Working Space
When people think of working from home, they imagine sitting on a couch or their dining table typing away on their laptops. We tend to forget to invest in our working spaces.
Unfortunately, it can make one prone to health issues such as back pain.
You can combat this by improving your employees' workspaces by providing suitable furniture and other equipment. These include:
- Ergonomic chairs
- Blue light glasses
- Air conditioning
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Workout equipment such as treadmills.
Creating a conducive work environment benefits both your employees and you as the employer. By improving their working conditions, you enhance their well-being and productivity. The result is an increase in the company's performance and revenue.
🪴 Give Out Office Plants
Studies show that introducing office plants for employees, both office and remote, has tremendous benefits on their wellness. They reduce stress and are proven to contribute to a reduction in depression and anxiety.
According to psychology, the color green provides a calm and soothing effect on people.
So having a few office plants distributed across your working space can positively influence your well-being.
Office plants also have the added benefit of providing clean, fresh air. If you remember what we learned in science class, plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. They also filter out harmful chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air, making it cleaner for you to breathe.
🏥 Introduce Subsidies for Health Services
Some companies offer health benefits such as dental care, medical insurance, and life insurance. These perks are often a great incentive.
However, not all companies have the funds to provide these perks. Luckily, you can reach a middle ground by offering subsidies. It's a great way to create a favorable working environment essential for productivity.
📡 Offer to Pay For Work Amenities Such as WiFi
Creating a positive work environment for your employees includes providing amenities such as WiFi and Internet. Unfortunately, working from home means they don't get access to free internet facilities like their counterparts in the office.
An excellent way to level the playing field is by setting aside funds or creating a budget dedicated to caring for remote employees. Again, if you don't have the means to cater to these expenses fully, you can offer subsidies.
It will go a long way in reducing operational costs for your employees.
⏱ Encourage Frequent Breaks
It's easy to lose track of time, especially when you're working from home.
As such, you're more likely to ignore breaks or even lose track of time altogether. Breaks are essential to employee wellness because:
- They're a great way to decompress
- They're excellent stress relievers
- They promote good health
- They improve productivity.
Encourage your employees to take regular short breaks every one to two hours. Five to ten minutes intermissions are perfect - they promote employee wellness while maintaining productivity.
One way to do so is through subtle nudges via Slack or Microsoft Teams.
🏆 Introduce a Reward Program
Incentives are a powerful motivational tool. They drive your employees to work towards their goals because they know there's a reward at the end. Take advantage of this by introducing a reward program for your remote employees.
It can either be financial or non-financial. Financial incentives include bonuses, commissions, paid time off, and profit shares. On the other hand, non-financial incentives include promotions, recognition, training, and online courses.
🏖 Wrapping up: Driving Wellness for Remote Employees
Wellness is a plus to both companies and their employees.
If you'd like to create a culture of wellness for your employees, we recommend checking out our employee enablement platform to launch fun routines like Walk & Talks or resilience programs at the click of a button.
Reach out to us for a free consultation.
➡️ Read next: How to make "hybrid" work for well-being and culture