If you want to attract and keep high-quality employees, there is a greater impetus than ever to create a healthy work environment. After all, healthy employees are generally happy employees and happy employees have no reason to leave.
Millennials and Gen Z currently account for well over one-third of the workforce (38 percent) and will swell to nearly 60% in the next decade. Unlike their Baby Boomer predecessors who were loyal to the companies that were in large part loyal to them, millennials in particular are far more likely to leave a job they aren’t happy with and in some cases with no warning.
But as remote work is on the rise, the challenge lies in businesses needing to not only figure out how to keep office staff happy, but remote staff as well.
Here’s how you can create a healthy company culture for your remote team.
1. Onboard properly
The onboarding process is already difficult enough in an office where employees are surrounded by coworkers. Too many businesses hire employees only to throw them in at the deep end and expect them to swim.
If at all possible, it is best to spend as much time as you can with your new hire during their first month and to make their hours as flexible as you can. Their first month will most likely be overwhelming with a lot to absorb and take in.
Try and make that transition as easy as possible and make sure they have plenty of support. Assigning them a mentor or “buddy” during this time can also help them feel more a part of the team.
2. Facilitate team communication
While remote workers regularly outperform their office-bound counterparts in terms of productivity, the one drawback is that remote workers also struggle with loneliness more than office workers.
Some remote workers may literally feel a complete sense of isolation. There are many ways to combat this.
FaceTime meetings and group chats are one way, but also making sure they have the means of communicating with each other about non-work matters. Socialization is an important part of office life and it is no less important for remote workers.
If you have the ability to bring them in for office parties, you should. But, if you can’t, sending them a gift card to a local restaurant so they can celebrate with friends is the next best thing.
3. Provide them with the right equipment
While many remote workers will choose their own equipment, it is important to provide the resources they need and ensure they really have the right equipment for their health and welfare.
While modern workers may not be subject to many of the dangers of working on a factory floor, the modern office can be just as detrimental to overall health. Workers that spend a great deal of time typing on a keyboard might be at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome and even sitting for several hours at a time can have a significant impact on spinal health.
And then there’s the impact of all the electronic devices we use on a daily basis. They all generate electromagnetic fields (EMF). Basically every piece of tech that makes remote work possible – will expose you to EMF.
Enjoying Wi-Fi? It generates EMF.
Love having your phone nearby? It also generates EMF.
Those awesome Bluetooth headphones that finally take away all the hassle with the cords? That’s right, more EMF.
The consequences of EMF exposure are still being researched, and you should make sure your remote team members are well aware of how their cool new gadgets might be affecting their focus and wellbeing. Always make sure you can recommend healthier alternatives and provide well-informed answers.
Ultimately, as leaders, you need to do your best to ensure the equipment you provide your employees will help make a safer work environment, not just provide them with the cheapest equipment available. It is an investment in employees’ health, productivity and overall satisfaction.
4. Encourage good physical health
While good health is not just physical health, it is still a key component. In fact, businesses can save a great deal on health care premiums by encouraging employees to engage in a healthy lifestyle.
Some ways to accomplish this might be sending out newsletters with healthy tips, recipes, infographics or YouTube videos showing exercises that are good for your back, necks, legs, etc.
Some businesses may bring massage therapists onsite or work with a local business to provide employee discounts. Some employers even provide employees with fitness trackers and have company-wide fitness challenges.
5. Destigmatize mental health care
If an employee had a migraine, most businesses wouldn’t think twice about giving them time off and helping them get whatever help they needed. If an employee was going through a breakup, however, most businesses would consider that a personal matter that shouldn’t interfere with work. The truth is, however, that the pain of a breakup registers exactly the same as the pain of a migraine.
While many employers may theoretically give their employees “mental health days” it doesn’t do a whole lot of good to give them something that there is still a stigma attached to them taking. It is important to recognize that an employee that has just lost a beloved pet is experiencing largely the same pain as an employee that just broke their leg.
Healthy, happy employees are productive employees. Of course, no one is going to be happy every day and it’s also important for employers to understand that every employee is going to have ebbs and flows in their productivity.
The more control employers can give employees over their own schedule, however, the more likely employees are to achieve peak productivity at work.
When employees feel free to finish work early on days they just can’t focus on work, and work late on days when they are feeling extra motivated, they will most likely far outperform employees with a rigid, set schedule.
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
About the Author
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon.