Engaging Remote Employees with Wellness Programs
We’ve written a lot lately about the growing trend and benefits of employees working remotely. While telecommuting can be positive for both employee and employer, it’s critical that companies work to keep remote employees engaged.
Wellness programs can help.
Dennis Healy, chief sales officer at ARAG, suggests a 4-point plan to care for remote workers. He argues that wellness is one way that employers should include remote workers in all-company events and activities.
“My company has a wellness committee that does fitness challenges for employees,” he writes, “and there is always an option for remote workers. These are small but important elements of making remote workers feel part of the company family.”
The corporate culture consultants at CultureIQ point out that employees who travel a lot (think sales, delivery, or any position that relies heavily on client interaction) have unique challenges. They’re more susceptible to depression, health problems, and burnout—issues that could quickly bleed into the workplace. Managers should encourage health and wellness initiatives that focus on relaxation, healthy eating, and exercise, and also build corporate culture.
Here are three other ways companies can help remote employees, according to Healy:
Help them create personal connections with you and other employees. “Because I am a remote myself,” Healy writes, “it’s easy for me to remember to make time for ‘virtual water cooler talk.’ I call my direct reports, who are also remote employees, to just catch up on whatever is on their mind.”
Give them tools to be successful. “The most critical thing, especially for those of us who spend lots of time on conference calls, is quality audio,” Healy says. “It may sound basic, but if the connection doesn’t pick up quiet or low talkers, it’s a real struggle to follow conversations and remain an active participant. Another tool that may be helpful is video conferencing,” he continues. “When someone can see you and you can see them, you are automatically going to be more engaged and invested in the conversation.”
Encourage telecommuters to embrace the flexibility of working remotely. “I can ride my bike after work and still get home with time to make dinner and be with my family,” Healy says. This, along with the ability to get a little extra sleep in the mornings, is an invaluable benefit to me and also to my employer, because I am a more energetic and productive employee.”