Working from home was, for many years, one of the most desirable perks a company could offer. In 2019, a LinkedIn survey found that 57% of all employees would work from home 3 or more days a week, if that was an option.
Well, due to the coronavirus, many more employees are working remotely than ever before. There are all the advantages that both employers and employees love about remote work – no commute, the ability to focus, the lack of need to wear pants on conference calls. And the good news is that employees working from home are often much more productive and happy.
However, employers are discovering that the needs of a partial or fully remote workforce has its own sets of challenges and needs.
Culture and Connection
For one, employees are struggling with communication and connection to their managers and each other. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), two out of three employers have cited difficulties with maintaining employee morale and culture due to enforced distancing. Employees lack the casual and incidental in-person communication and socialization they once enjoyed by going to the office.
Employees are also finding it difficult to take a break and manage worklife balance. Parents are often faced with working at home with children who may require assistance with schooling. And without the structure of the commute, it’s often difficult for employees not to just keep working—after all, they’re always near their computers. This can lead to burnout and stress – a recent study by Eagle Hill found that 45% of employees—almost half!—were burnt out from juggling personal and professional obligations during WFH.
Finally, employees may not have an entirely suitable workspace, which means not only more distractions, but physical discomfort and even pain. Back and neck issues (turns out the chairs at the kitchen table aren’t best-suited to working a 9 hour day) and weight gain (hello, constantly-present refrigerator) are just the beginning. A Monster.com survey from April 2020 found that 79% of employees were negatively affected by coronavirus-related stress and anxiety, experiencing both mental symptoms (irritability, depression, stress) and physical ones (back pain, insomnia, weight gain).
How Zeel Virtual Wellness Can Help
When your employees are out of the office, you must meet them where they are—in their living spaces.
Virtual Wellness services allow employers to offer benefits to large groups of employees at once, regardless of their location. Not only is this efficient, but it brings employees together on platforms like Zoom or Webex, sharing experiences to reinforce connection, and strengthening company culture by introducing shared experiences to enjoy together, even while physically apart. This can help with the serious issue of loneliness among remote workers.
Virtual services can also be performed in a one-on-one setting. Such services are great for employees with disparate schedules—perhaps those located in other time zones, or with work or outside commitments that prevent standardized scheduling. They can also be a great way to to reward or assist individual employees.
Consider virtual services like mindfulness and yoga. With guided mindfulness, an experienced professional will lead employees through several mental exercises designed to improve calm and focus. Instructors are available to answer questions and give advice for self-practice at other times. Mindfulness has been proven to sharpen focus and concentration and reduce stress—great abilities to have for your at-home employees.
Virtual Yoga is another guided activity that’s ideal for at-home workers. Employees, by following an all-levels yoga program guided by a licensed yoga teacher, will bond with other class participants, gain increased flexibility and core strength, as well as a sense of inner calm.
Work from home can mean that employees move even less than usual and work from less than ideal spaces. Zeel’s Virtual Ergonomics & Mobility could be the answer. Degreed ergonomics professionals will help employees evaluate and correct their workspaces and learn exercises to relieve strain on tight muscles.
By asking your employees to spend time in stress-relieving, enjoyable, healthy company activities, you show that you care about the work/life balance of your employees and their longterm mental and physical health. Combining in-person and virtual services show that you care for all employees, no matter where they may be located.
Even as some employees begin to venture back to offices, it is clear that the work paradigm has shifted. Some employees will continue to work from home, either temporarily or permanently. Consider adding Virtual Services as a permanent addition to strengthen the fabric of your company. At Zeel, we’ll always be there for you and your employees with the utmost attention to safety, health, and hygiene for all.