Even as people venture out into the beginnings of a post-COVID world, remote working has and continues to be the norm. What was once a perk in offices has now become a part of daily working life. There are undeniably numerous benefits, including skipping time-consuming commutes and more flexible hours — a setup that is a dream for employees who want to spend time with families or on other personal endeavours.
However, there are also drawbacks to losing an office environment. Less structured work hours, disconnection from colleagues, and overlapping boundaries that affect work-life balance and wellbeing are some disadvantages. This sudden shift has made wellness more important than ever.
It’s not unusual for employers and employees alike to miss the fact that working from home carries several psychosocial risks. Drawing the boundaries between one's personal and professional responsibilities has become increasingly difficult. The emphasis placed on wellness is a natural response to the rapid adjustment of the working world as people knew it: Office life has now become home life, and vice versa. Part of ensuring wellness is establishing a separate working space that will encourage productivity and maintain the important boundary between personal and professional responsibilities.
The physical aspect of working influences mental health significantly, as anybody who has ever sat through a long Zoom call on a bad chair can tell you. The last thing your employees need to be worrying about during a call for budget strategies is how their monitor won’t stay at eye level! Being comfortable at work makes you more productive, so investing in your employees' wellness is crucial.
Here are a few concrete ways you can provide wellness in a remote-first environment.
It’s one thing to give employees access to information and other intangible resources, but allotting a specific budget for trade tools and ergonomic office equipment can significantly boost their productivity and promote wellness.
For instance, employers can invest in ergonomically designed mechanical keyboards for their coders or writers. Other more common examples can include high-quality office chairs or lumbar support pillows. Meanwhile, standing desk converters promote the principle of standing while working to prevent being hunched over in the same position for extended periods, which is often the root of back pain, stiff necks, painful knees, and even bad moods. Standing desk converters can remedy this by encouraging increased blood flow, better posture, and activated bones and muscles!
By investing part of the budget in such tools, employers can directly influence the wellbeing of their employees by encouraging working setups that are physically healthier.
In a time when employees feel more isolated than ever before, employers must introduce accessible initiatives to ensure that there is an active effort in keeping staff engaged and healthy. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
Access to counselling for employees to process issues related to remote work, COVID-19, and other personal concerns;
Wellness challenges that foster communication and encourage socialization while simultaneously improving the health of employees; and
Exercise classes, webinars, and even cooking demonstrations for better engagement among remote workers.
Even with wellness programs available, if the root of your employees’ difficulties with remote work is due to the workload itself, then consider scaling back where possible. Today’s situation is rife with physical and emotional stress. It is in the company’s best interest to mitigate these risks, for the sake of both the business and its employees. Easing up on unreasonable workloads shows understanding and prevents resentment from brewing among teams while keeping everybody at sound levels of productivity.
Driving wellness in a remote-first environment is the secret ingredient to success in the new normal, and it is an exciting opportunity for employers during these unprecedented times. By understanding and prioritising your workforce’s needs, there’s a better chance that your teams will remain engaged despite the challenges of working in remote settings. Employee wellbeing is more important than ever, and it will continue to be, long after the chaos of the pandemic has passed.
Written by Robin Jane
For the exclusive use of weployapp.com
Jacob Morgan is one of the World's leading authorities on the Future of Work. A best-selling author, keynote speaker and futurist, he advises business leaders and organisations all over the world; KPMG, Pandora, Cisco and T-Mobile to name a few on how to Future-Proof their business. In this post, we have compiled a list of skills and education areas that Morgan advises will help employers learn what to look for, in order to future proof their workforce
TONY: What does the future of work mean to you?
RUBY: The future of work basically comes down to freedom of choice and flexibility. It’s actually this whole new unlocked generation where people should feel free to set up their working lives to suit them. I think it rolls into the gig economy, being able to represent different employer brands, and it being actually quite normal. It gives us, as individuals, freedom of choice in how we want to work and who we want to work for.
Six months ago, I reached a massive milestone in my life when my wife excitedly ran down the stairs to show me a positive pregnancy test. Discovering our first child would be arriving in February 2020, we were beyond excited. We were also a little apprehensive about how this massive change would affect our lives. Going through the experience for the first time, we knew we’d have to learn a tonne of new things about how to care for a baby. Sleeping patterns would change and significant chunks of time would be dedicated to caring for our son. One of the biggest worries I had was balancing my role at Weploy alongside my new role as a Father. Marian Baird, professor of Gender and Employment Relations at the University of Sydney, said almost all eligible women take paid parental leave compared to about 25 to 30% of men. But, as 50% parent to my unborn son, not 25-30%, I had some concerns about my entitlements and how it would impact my career.