How to Create Your Own Employee Wellness Program from Home
According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of Americans primarily working from home tripled between 2019 and 2021. While much of the initial shift is due to the pandemic, a significant number of businesses have made the permanent change.
Not only did employers recognize that employees are able to complete necessary work tasks from home (thereby cutting building costs for a company), but employees seemed to enjoy the transition, too. For numerous reasons, the format of working from home is here to stay.
Whether your company offers full or partial work-from-home options, you’re likely wondering how to adjust the services you offer your employees, too. While some facets of work life switch to the home environment easily, employee wellness programs may need some extra attention.
In this article, we’ll look at the effective components of employee wellness programs and how to keep them accessible for your remote workers, plus tips for those who want to focus on wellness on their own.
Components of employee wellness programs
Workplace wellness programs are activities, education and resources designed to promote the health of a company’s employees. These programs include offerings, policies, benefits, supports and connections to healthy outlets. Here are some common components of employee wellness programs.
- Nutrition assistance
- In-office gyms
- Subsidized gym or fitness class memberships
- Incentives for exercising, eating healthy, drinking water, etc
- Outdoor spaces at an office
- Standing desks, desk treadmills, ergonomic chairs, etc
- Healthcare policies
- In-office childcare
- Discounted or free counseling sessions
- Health education
- Healthy snacks in-office
- Flexible scheduling
- Paid vacation
- Community volunteer opportunities
This list is by no means exhaustive. The components of an employee wellness program are designed to promote overall well-being and should be catered to the needs of your employee population as much as possible.
While employee wellness programs that are in-office are designed for the benefit of everyone, employee wellness programs that are conducted at home may need to be catered to fit individual needs and resources. Not all of a company’s employees will have the same access to outdoor space, exercise equipment, food sources and so forth. However, there are numerous ways to accommodate offerings to fit the needs of everyone, and employees are always welcome to create their own programs, too.
Virtual employee wellness programs
Looking at work-from-home opportunities and employee wellness programs side by side, they may seem entirely incompatible. Addressing the physical and mental health of employees typically requires their non-virtual presence. For example, an in-office gym, outdoor spaces, in-office childcare and other such perks are irrelevant when workers don’t commute or do only on occasion.
Remote work poses unique challenges to employee wellness programs to be sure but doesn’t render them impossible. With some modifications, employers can offer a full spectrum of benefits and programs to employees to promote health and prevent health-related issues when working.
How to implement virtual wellness programs
As an employer or employee, creating a virtual wellness program is within your power to jump-start. Each person can create their own wellness practices and routine, or companies can lay the groundwork for workers to participate. If you’re looking for ways to get those in your company active and engaged, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind along the way.
1. Consider the goals of your wellness program
“Wellness” is a broad term. Physical fitness, absence of illness, spiritual well-being, mental health and a balanced lifestyle all fall under the umbrella of wellness. When you’re deciding to implement a program, policy or practice that promotes wellness, you may want to first discover and perhaps narrow your focus. You may want to tackle different areas at different times and consult the employees of your workplace to identify common goals.
2. Consider the needs of your employees
Working from home has wonderful pros, but there are also some significant cons. A lack of socialization with coworkers can contribute to poor communication, interpersonal conflict, difficulty completing projects with teams and a sense of being disconnected from one’s job. Offering programs that reverse the effects of isolated work is one area virtual employee wellness programs will want to address to be most effective at promoting social health.
3. Feed off shared motivation
Employees who are working towards health goals through virtual assistance may feel unmotivated and alone in their aspirations. Whenever possible, creating opportunities for groups or an entire company to engage in balanced life activities can foster a sense of community and give individuals much-needed support. Consider a policy that allows workers to exercise during work hours or host an annual service project.
4. Build in accountability systems
Whether you’re starting an employee wellness program for yourself, a group of friends or an entire company, creating measurable goals and accountability systems can help you pursue your goals and reach them. Consider hosting a virtual celebration during the program to congratulate progress, share milestones publicly or offer rewards to those who excel.
5. Set the example
If you’re starting an employee wellness program for at-home employees, it may be hard to set an example when no one can see you participating. Find ways to demonstrate wellness practices at home. Consider hosting a company-wide yoga session at lunch, a monthly meet-up to walk in a park or creating a company social media page to post content of individuals participating.
Wellness at home
If you’re eager to help your remote or partially remote workers maintain active, healthy lives, check out Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP. Mazzitti & Sullivan can boost morale among employees with unique opportunities to engage in a balanced lifestyle. With resources like mental health counseling, diet planning and assistance with daily time management, your employees will lead healthy, happy and productive careers and lives.
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