Supporting Remote and Flexible Workforces with Their Physical Wellbeing

16 May 2024

Remote and flexible work arrangements have become the new norm, offering employees greater autonomy and freedom. While these work arrangements have many advantages, they come with unique challenges, particularly in the realm of physical wellbeing.

We can’t forget to support flexible and remote employees’ physical wellbeing as the landscape of work continues to evolve.

Why is physical wellbeing important?

Physical wellbeing is a cornerstone of overall health and productivity. When people are physically healthy, they tend to be more engaged and focused, while less prone to burnout. Engaging in regular physical activity helps us to prevent chronic diseases, obtain good quality sleep, manage stress better and maintain a healthy weight.

Promoting physical wellbeing not only benefits individuals but also has a positive impact on an organisation helping to reduce absenteeism, improve employee retention, and enhance overall company performance.

Here are some steps to consider when creating a comprehensive strategy that helps cater to remote and flexible employees’ physical wellbeing.

Assess Needs.

Everyone has different needs and requires different levels/types of physical wellbeing support. That’s why it is important to gather insights on the needs and challenges of your specific remote workforce.

Think of things like are people struggling with ergonomics at home? Is it difficult for remote workers to have a work-life balance? Are people struggling with the right nutrition?

Build your physical wellbeing package.

Once you’re aware of your remote worker’s needs, build your package around them to make sure you’re including the most valuable benefits for your people. Ergonomic support can be invaluable for remote workers to prevent MSK conditions and reduce absenteeism. Providing access to digital gyms or digital fitness programs can help those struggling with time management or family responsibilities to maintain good physical wellbeing.

Encourage Regular Breaks

Remote and flexible work can blur the lines between work and personal life. Encourage employees to take regular breaks, move around, and stretch. Implement policies that promote healthy work habits, employees that are worried for ‘time at desk’ metrics as opposed to KPIs being hit/focused on output tend to have poorer physical wellbeing and increased stress.

Promote Physical Activity

We all know that physical activity is essential for maintaining good health. Encourage employees to incorporate regular exercise into their routines. Offer fitness classes or subscriptions to wellness apps, and provide guidance on setting up a home workout space to enable people to squeeze in what they can when it most suits them. Company activity/step challenges are a great way to get competitive and bring people together when working remotely.

Don’t forget Mental Wellbeing

Mental health is interlinked with physical wellbeing. Offering mental health resources, such as access to counselling services and mental health resources alongside physical wellbeing will meet remote employee’s whole of health needs. Consider investing in a solution that integrates everything on the same platform- people will be more engaged and inclined to use what’s available to them. Employers investing in a connected solution usually reap impressive cost benefits as opposed to investing in separate and fragmented services.

Flexible Policies

Your company’s policies should reflect the flexibility you offer in work arrangements. Consider policies that allow employees to set their own working hours, taking into account their peak productivity times. Create guidelines for a healthy work-life balance and ensure that overtime is minimised. Every organisation has different needs and high levels of flexibility could be difficult. Where possible, let remote employees work how best suits them – incorporating time for physical activity and rest.

Communication and Education

Regular communication is vital. Keep employees informed about the resources available to them and provide ongoing education about maintaining physical wellbeing while working remotely. Prevention is key for many physical and mental health issues. Encourage employees to share their experiences and tips with one another and adopt an open culture that focuses on and prioritises employee health.

In conclusion…

Investing in the health and wellness of your team, fosters a more productive, engaged, and satisfied workforce. It’s an essential component of any successful, modern workplace that thrives in the evolving world of work.

As you adapt and refine your strategy and policies, remember that the key is to remain flexible and responsive to the unique needs of your remote and flexible workforce. By doing so, you’ll create a healthier, happier, and more successful work environment where people are free to take care of both physical and mental wellbeing.