In the digital age, working remotely has become increasingly popular. Many companies have at least a few employees who either work from home, from the road, or from a corporate branch outside the main office.
These remote employees are just as vital to your business as "office" employees, and they can benefit just as much from your corporate wellness program. That being said, they really are an entirely different population. That means that while they still need to be immersed in the company culture and to feel valued by corporate leadership, they do need to be addressed differently than your employees who work in-office.
So how can you reach them directly to encourage remote employee engagement with your wellness program? Here are a few ideas to test out with your remote employee population.
Team Up with Them
Teammates provide accountability. If you sponsor wellness activities that require a bit of teamwork—teamwork that can be accomplished digitally—you’ll have a support system on which your remote employees can rely.
Oftentimes, remote employees work independently. The technology we have today makes it possible to break down some of those independent barriers and give your remote employees the opportunity to team up with local employees to help them reach their health goals.
Don’t Forget About Them
Sometimes remote employees can be forgotten. We know it’s not intentional, but it’s difficult to remember to include those employees on face-to-face meetings and projects. Don’t let that be the case with your wellness program.
When you have major events or meetings about wellness, be sure there is a way for remote employees to patch in online. This can be done with webcams, conference call lines or even just detailed recaps.
Reward or Praise Them
It’s easy to offer quick words of affirmation when you pass people in the halls. Sometimes the “You look great, have you been working out?!” can be the turning point in an employee’s engagement with your wellness program.
You won’t simply run into your remote employees, however. Try to go out of your way to recognize their milestones and compliment their progress. Taking the time to reward them—even with simple words of praise—can make all the difference.
This means choosing wellness activities that work for remote employees. Be sure to plan activities that can be done independently, or that don’t have a designated time and place. For example, offer Home Test Kits or alternative lab locations for biometric screenings. Focus on the what of the activity, not the when. It’s the act of taking part that truly matters in the long run, so be sure it’s just as easy for remote employees to take part as it is for everyone else.
Communicate with Them
Communication with remote employees—about wellness and other business activities—needs to be clear, detailed and two-way.
Clear communication allows for easy understanding, even if remote employees are getting the message digitally. Detailed communication answers questions before they arise, which is excellent for employees who won’t be asking questions on the spot in a face-to-face interaction. Two-way communication means if there are questions, a method for getting those questions answered is made obvious and easy.
Check in with Them
Whether it’s formal progress reports, quick phone calls or some other system that works for your company, it’s important to check in with remote employees often. This not only helps you ensure that you’re being understood loud and clear, but demonstrates that you value them just as much as any employee who works in the office.
Remote employees are becoming much more common in the average workplace. These people have the same needs as every employee who works in your office, but they do need to be addressed a bit differently. Take the time to plan a strategy that works with your company culture and encourages remote employee engagement with your wellness program.
How do you address remote employees differently than those who work in-house?