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How employers can support remote employees health and wellness

How employers can support remote employees health and wellness

Wearables now include fitness, stress management and mindfulness tools

Many employers around the world are requiring their workforces to stay home. For some employees, working remotely means creating new healthy routines. Other employees have already carved out positive home-based habits. Employers can help both types of workers stay healthy and calm with exercise, meditation, and well-timed team challenges that can help them feel connected in these socially distant times.

Encourage at-home physical activity

When working at home, many employees find a distraction-free groove that keeps them productive. Sometimes they don’t realise they need to take a break from work and make time for physical activity.

While some individuals have resumed outdoor fitness routines, those who prefer to workout at home are looking for effective and convenient ways to keep active. Premium fitness and wellness membership services that offer personalised goals, challenges, coaching, and guidance offer access to a variety of adaptive workouts and trainers. Activities run the gamut from cardio, dance, kickboxing, barre3, and HIIT to easier go-to activities such as yoga, strength conditioning, and mindfulness workouts.

Separating work life from home life and finding a routine can be stressful for remote workers, especially if they are trying to juggle work with childcare and homeschooling duties during the day. Remind your employees that exercise is a great way to relieve stress, whether it’s caused by a challenging project they are tackling or having bored teenagers at home.

Share new ways to fight stress

During times of stress, mindfulness and meditation are great self-care techniques. Prioritising mental health is one of the keys to creating a healthy workplace, at home or in an office.

While you may not be able to have in-person workshops right now, try to ensure that your remote employees learn some stress-relieving behaviours that they can do from home. You can introduce remote workers to these two guided programs:

Guided breathing: most wearables now provide guided breathing and offer breathing sessions that may help lower blood pressure, reduce stress and lessen anxiety.

Better sleep: to improve sleep, there are guided programs available that can help employees build better sleep habits. My favourite part of such a program is the daily warm-up, a set of mindfulness activities to help power up the morning. Many people find that when they hit their sleep goals, their stress drops and they feel more productive.

Another innovative way employers can support employees is by introducing them to advanced wearable devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches that also include features like stress management and mindfulness tools along with tracking your steps, skin temperature and multi-day battery life that enables you to wear the devices continuously, even to bed each night to be able to track your sleep.

Make everyone feel like part of the team
With entire teams working remotely, some employees may feel like they are a bit isolated. In today’s work environment, dozens of collaboration tools are available to help remote employees feel included and connected, and many of them are now free.

Employers can do simple things that add a personal touch. For instance, provide a way for everyone to participate in a virtual office party by phone or videoconference. Remembering them on birthdays and work anniversaries with care packages is another nice, personal way to remind them they are an important part of the team, even if they aren’t in the office.

Some of the best team bonding activities are online challenges, which offer the perfect virtual playing field for everyone, regardless of their location. Launch a new Home Team challenge or two to add a dose of motivation. It may be just what your employees need during these high-stress months of social distancing.

Prateek Kewalramani is the senior manager for Middle East & Africa at Fitbit

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