The health and wellbeing of your team is no small matter. A company has a duty of care towards its employees which includes abiding by relevant health and safety laws. However, I believe that companies should go beyond and also promote the wellbeing of their employees. Employees have the right to decide how healthy they want to be of course, but companies should be there to support healthy choices.
Happy and Healthy Employees is Good for Business
What’s good for employees is also good for the team and company as a whole. When employees are healthier and fitter they will feel better about themselves and also work better and contribute more to the team as a whole. We know that fitter, healthier and happier employees bring a myriad of benefits including increased productivity. The ACT Government’s healthier work guide is a good starting place to find more information on these benefits and how to promote these practices.
Studies suggest that when teams work physically close together they are motivated by each other and can gain a natural health benefit. In this study in 2010, they found that the perceived fitness level of other others makes you exercise harder. This other study in 2016 showed that we tend to lose more weight if we spend time with fitter people. Therefore it’s important for us to try and find ways to promote health with remote teams as well where we are physically apart from the rest of our team.
Suggestions to Improve Health and Wealth Being in Remote Businesses
Here are suggestions we’ve found to help remote teams improve their health and wellbeing:
Insist on schedule: This can be challenging with international teams but it’s important to insist that employees stick to a regular shift that overlaps with other team members. This doesn’t have to be 9 to 5, but should be consistent. Working too many hours will do more harm than good in the long term.
Fitness Perks: A number of businesses provide gym membership as a perk. I’m not convinced this is the best idea, as it is not a strong motivator. When someone pays for gym from their own pocket they will be more motivated to attend.
Workout Apps: Short workout apps like the 7 minute workout are a great way to get started keeping healthy while working at home. Businesses should encourage this and provide time for it.
Fitbit fitness app: An interesting approach is to provide each person on the team with a fitbit fitness tracker. The Fitbit app allows users to invite friends to participate in challenges such as daily steps or runs. This can be a fun activity to challenge your colleagues and team to. You could even import each person’s data and create a dashboard. (Make sure your team is comfortable participating in this first). Fitbit also has a corporate wellness program that you can subscribe to.
Standup desks: Having a good workspace is crucial and just because your staff are not in the office doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be set up well. Standup desks are an easy way to promote wellness and get more blood flow happening during work. We encourage all meetings to be taken standing up. I personally find I am more aware and focused in meetings when I am standing up or pacing back and forth. Meetings are a good time to be up on your feet.
Indoor greenery: One of the easiest ways to promote health is indoor greenery. Studies have shown that indoor plants improve air quality and boost mood, productivity concentration, creativity and reduce stress.