Latest Insights Into Employee Wellness Concerns in a Hybrid Workplace
1. Less camaraderie with coworkers after transitioning to remote work
The top concern raised by leadership was that virtual work hinders culture and connectivity. The lack of physical interaction and spontaneous face-to-face conversations can make it difficult for employees to build relationships and feel connected to their colleagues. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can negatively impact employee engagement, motivation, and overall well-being. It’s important for employers to create opportunities for remote employees to connect with their colleagues, whether it’s through virtual team-building activities or regular virtual meetings, to build camaraderie and support employee well-being.
2. Employers will need to plan and build in time for engaging in virtual activities and have regular check-ins.
Employers should consider ways in which the organization can use virtual platforms to encourage employees to interact in meaningful, intentional ways. This can be done by creating specific channels or groups within the platform for employees to connect with one another, such as virtual coffee breaks or lunch and learns.
Additionally, employers can facilitate virtual team-building activities, such as online games or virtual happy hours, to promote connection among remote employees. It’s also important to make sure that all employees have the necessary technology and training to fully participate in these virtual interactions.
Furthermore, regular check-ins and open communication channels can help ensure that employees feel connected and supported, even when working remotely. Overall, it’s important for employers to actively foster a sense of community and connection among remote employees through the use of virtual platforms.
3. When it comes to stress management and productivity, middle managers are feeling the squeeze more acutely than individual contributors or senior managers.
They report the lowest scores for stress reduction when compared with senior managers and individual contributors.
Working remotely can be stressful for middle managers for a variety of reasons. One of the main challenges is maintaining communication and collaboration with team members who are not physically present. Middle managers may struggle to keep track of the progress of remote workers and may find it difficult to provide effective guidance and support. Additionally, they may have a harder time building trust and relationships with remote team members, which can lead to difficulties in motivating and directing them.
Another potential stressor for these managers working remotely is the blurred boundary between work and home life. Without the separation that a physical office provides, it can be harder for middle managers to disconnect from work and relax at home. This can lead to burnout and other negative consequences on their mental and physical health. This can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection from the company’s culture, which can further contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.
4. Dispersed employees working remotely will require new leadership behaviors to compensate for the reduced socioemotional cues characteristic of digital channels.
Leaders will need to rely less on hierarchical and focus on inspirational forms of leadership.
Socioemotional cues, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language, are important for understanding the emotional state of others and interpreting their intentions. However, these cues are often difficult to discern when communicating remotely, which can make it harder for leaders to effectively lead and support their team members.
To overcome this challenge, leaders need to be more intentional and explicit in their communication when leading a remote team. This means being more clear and direct in their communication and providing more detailed feedback and guidance. Leaders should also make an effort to build trust and relationships with their team members, and to create opportunities for team members to connect and interact with one another.
5. Women with children report the lowest scores for work-life balance.
This divide carries over into ratings for productivity, stress, and overall satisfaction. Many mothers are struggling to balance their work and home responsibilities, and are finding it difficult to focus on their work while also meeting the needs of their children.
Additionally, mothers with children may not have the same level of privacy and quiet that they would have in a traditional office setting, making it hard to focus on work and have confidential conversations. Employers should be aware of the unique challenges that mothers may face and work to support them in ways such as offering flexible work arrangements, providing access to resources, and promoting work-life balance.
6. Employers will need to encourage their employees to take time outside work to engage with friends or family, exercise, or take a proper lunch.
This will lead to a remarkable impact on their work-life balance, productivity, and work-related stress. Doing this is important to avoid burnout and to promote overall well-being. One way to do this is by implementing flexible work arrangements, such as allowing employees to set their own schedule, or offering the option of working four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
Another way employers can encourage work-life balance is by promoting the use of time-off benefits, such as vacation days or personal days. Employers can also encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day and to step away from their work for a few minutes to exercise or eat lunch.
Employers can also create a culture that promotes work-life balance by setting an example themselves. Encourage managers and leaders to model healthy work-life balance behavior and make it clear that it’s okay to disconnect from work outside of business hours.
7. The long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will outlast the physical health effects.
The pandemic has been a mental health rollercoaster, and unfortunately, the ride isn’t over yet. The isolation, stress and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 have led to a significant increase in mental health issues which are likely to stick around for a while. Statistics have shown a major increase in anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in many individuals. The isolation and loneliness caused by lockdowns and social distancing measures have also had a significant impact on mental well-being.
It is important for employers, healthcare providers, and the government to continue to provide support and resources for those affected by mental health issues during and after the pandemic. This includes providing access to mental health services, promoting mental health awareness, and creating policies and programs that support mental well-being. Let’s keep the mental well-being conversation going!
8. The crisis has driven employees to rethink their priorities and given them a renewed focus on the quality of life.
This means employers need to adapt to these evolving needs and demands to attract and retain future talent. It is crucial for employers to not only provide incentives to retain employees but also to prioritize their mental health. A happy and healthy workforce is a productive one. Employers can support their employees’ mental well-being by offering access to mental health resources, promoting work-life balance, and creating a culture that prioritizes mental health. Employers can also provide a safe and confidential space for employees to express their concerns and provide support for employees dealing with mental health issues. By taking care of their employees’ mental health, employers can increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover, thus retaining their valuable employees.
Why Virtual Wellness Classes Are Needed in a Hybrid Workplace
1. Increased choice, access, and flexibility.
Another major benefit of virtual wellness classes is scalability. In the past, the number of individuals that could attend on-site wellness programs was limited to the size of the location. However, this limitation simply does not exist with virtual wellness classes. This means your wellness programs can expand as your company continues to grow.
Additionally, virtual wellness classes that are recorded give employers the opportunity to offer their employees a wider range of virtual classes that they can attend on their own time.
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2. More cost-efficient and impactful.
Many individuals are looking to join programs they can access independently of their location. Virtual wellness programs provide a way for employees to build healthy lifestyle habits in the comfort of their own homes, and on their terms.
Unlike onsite wellness programs, virtual wellness programs are typically more economical for companies while also improving the productivity of their employees. Companies are able to optimize valuable wellness budgets because they won’t need to acquire additional facilities to accommodate the resources needed to host in-person classes.
3. Easier and more accurate measurement for future decision-making.
With a virtual wellness program, you can gather centralized information such as – how many employees are attending each session, how many employees are re-watching the recordings, and which sessions they prefer.
When you invest in employee wellness, what truly matters are the insights that guide your decision-making process. Whether you are doing it from a place of love or accounting, it’s necessary to ensure that your decisions are based on accurate insights. This is particularly important when connecting teams across cities or countries.
Top Corporate Wellness Programs For 2022
- Building Boundaries Between Work & Home
Three Questions to Consider Before Booking a Virtual Wellness Class
1. Will the vendor provide customizable programs to meet your company goals?
From pilates to chair yoga and mindfulness meditation, the options are endless. It’s not just about what is available, it’s checking if it is the right fit for your team. Don’t hesitate to ask your wellness provider for recommendations based on their experiences working with different teams.
Experienced vendors will be able to provide specific class recommendations based on:
- Team size
- Unique challenges within your industry
- Unique challenges within your company ex. layoffs, long hours and strict deadlines, remote teams, low morale
- Your corporate culture and existing wellness initiatives
- Your budget
- Quantifiable goals and targets
2. Are the vendor’s classes accessible, non-religious, office-friendly, and inclusive?
Some wellness programs have traditional roots and philosophies that have been proven to be transformative. However, this message doesn’t often translate appropriately in the corporate environment.
Your ideal corporate wellness provider should be knowledgeable about office tone and offering classes that promote team cohesion by using a shared language.
You definitely don’t want to have your employees feeling confused and uncomfortable so be sure to ask before you book. This will go a long way in ensuring a smooth experience for both you and your coworkers.
3. Can the vendor show evidence of program success in organizations like yours?
An experienced vendor should be able to provide positive testimonials from teams comparable to yours so don’t be shy about asking! To get buy-in from your colleagues and leadership team, you need to show proof of concept.
Having access to credible testimonials and case studies is a great way to calm any fears you may have about your vendor’s experience and capabilities! It also gives you access to possible wellness activities or ideas that you can include in your wellness package to ensure that it stays comprehensive and competitive in the job market.
Three Ways to Promote Virtual Wellness Within Your Workplace
The number one challenge with virtual wellness classes is proper promotion and ensuring engagement. When working with our clients such as Amazon, Netflix, KPMG and Microsoft, we have had an opportunity to learn from some of the top People Leaders in North America.
Here are the top three ways you can promote virtual wellness to maximize engagement within your organization:
1. Encourage your leadership team to attend your wellness classes.
When team leaders and executives participate in virtual wellness classes, it gives permission to their direct reports to do the same. Wellness initiatives that include leadership teams are significantly more impactful. These initiatives reach more people and encourage all employees to reflect on their current wellness and goals for the future.
Getting the whole team involved in nutrition, exercise, and wellness classes will help to increase team cohesion and foster a progressive workplace culture. This is the number one recommendation we have when implementing a new wellness initiative.
2. Survey your employees for their wellness needs
Employee wellness surveys help you to discover the areas of improvement for your company before you invest heavily in a virtual wellness program. You can begin by providing general, open-ended, and multiple-choice questions based on the 7 pillars of wellness.
Once you have received this information, not only will you know what areas of wellness to prioritize, you will show your team members that their opinion matters and is actively shaping the wellness tools around them. By including your team in the decision-making process, you maximize the benefits of collaboration. Most of all, it’s important to keep things light and fun!
3. Host frequent challenges and giveaways
Including monthly or weekly giveaways in your employee wellness program makes it a fun and engaging experience for everyone.
Studies have shown that when team members work together towards a shared goal, they push one another to be more creative, productive and motivated. One example of a challenge you can host is “30 days of Mindful Eating”. Encourage and reward those who consistently take time off to enjoy their entire lunch break versus multitasking between work tasks.
Including a poll in your survey that lists some suggestions for rewards is also a great way to build some excitement and momentum before you launch your program.
Expert Opinion: Monique Chiotti
(Human Resources Manager, iNTERFACEWARE)
What advice do you have for other companies looking to invest in their virtual wellness?
Employee wellness has always been important, but what this pandemic has shown us is how integral employee wellness and mental health is to the success of a company.
“Happy, satisfied employees who feel engaged and supported will turn up every day, wanting wholeheartedly to achieve their goals for the greater good of the company.
I think we made it through this unsettling time thanks to our continued focus on building resiliency throughout the company. We knew that if we continued working together and saw perceived setbacks as opportunities for growth, we could not only get through this but come out even stronger and tighter as a company.
My advice to other companies is to best determine which kinds of wellness initiatives your employees would most value, and proceed from there. Having a budget in place for employee wellness and engagement would be beneficial so you can offer employees a variety of virtual wellness initiatives all year.” – Monique Chiotti, Human Resources Manager, iNTERFACEWARE