When it comes to running any business, it’s important to encourage employee health. In addition to making your employees happier and therefore better workers, it’s also ethically your responsibility as a business leader to encourage that they be healthy for their own sake. In a large, office-based company, there are many options out there already for employers so that they can provide employees with the best health initiatives. You can offer healthy snacks at the office, for example, and get a good deal on employee healthcare. But when it comes to remote work, things are a little more complicated, and it can be a challenge to promote health in the digital office.
That said, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your employees’ health is being taken seriously. It’s all about finding creative solutions that can work in any workplace–and here’s how.
How To Promote Health Among Your Remote Business Employees
Inform your employees about healthy choices
Sometimes, giving employees the information they need makes all the difference when running a remote business. For example, if you’re running a drop shipping business, send your bloggers an article about what drop shippers are so that they have all the information they need. They’ll immediately start writing better content for you. If you put together a guide on how remote workers can get exercise (for example, with an online trainer) or how to create healthy snacks in the different countries your employees are based in, it’s the same.
Consult a professional if you have to. Having a video conference inviting an insurance expert to come in and explain global healthcare is a great idea, too. Over the last ten years, there’s been a 115 percent increase in telecommuting, so there are plenty of people you can bring in to talk to your employees over Slack or in a live feed.
Create an incentive-based wellness program
According to Forbes, “about 52 percent of the global workforce is overweight and 76 percent are struggling with their well being. Despite this just 9 percent of the global workforce currently have access to some form of enterprise/employer-driven wellness program – makes this critical business imperative for employers. As a result, [in 2018], data insight-driven incentives impacting premiums will become standard for payer-corporate partnerships driving wellness programs globally.”
Because you run a remote office, you can’t exactly do this wellness program in the office itself. But you can have competitions, such as tracking steps taken each day and giving the winning team a prize. You can also offer prizes for other healthy behaviors, such as quitting smoking and eating a certain amount of veggies by the end of each month. Paying for their gym membership is a great idea, too!
Allow flexibility and paid time off
In a way, running a remote business already might make it seem like you’re giving your employees all the flexibility they need. But if you don’t make it clear to your remote workers that you value flexibility, they may not realize that it’s available in the first place. Sure, they can work from anywhere in the world, but maybe they’re staying up late some nights completing work, or doing it when they’re sick because they don’t realize that they have more options. So explain your policy to them.
Additionally, give your employees paid time off. Even though many remote companies are small and might have a tight budget, you’re going to get better employees if you do this, and the ones you have will be much happier. It’s key to both physical and mental health. Now that 67 percent of small businesses offer some form of flexible work arrangements, you need your time off policy to be at the same standard as other companies’.
Think about mental health
Health isn’t just about the body; it’s also about the mind. So you need to check in with your employees and make sure they’re doing okay when it comes to stress and anxiety, which can be heightened if the company workload suddenly goes up, for example. You should also provide your employees with information about mental health, and access to remote therapists on apps like Talkspace.
If you can afford to pay for healthcare, mental and otherwise, it makes a huge difference. Even offering to pay some of the cost for basic health checkups can help a lot. After all, in the US, the average price an insured family well spend on healthcare in 2018 is $28,000.
These are some of the best strategies for promoting mental health in a remote office. What other strategies do you think would be successful?