The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many of us to adopt technology-based actions, even for our daily routines. Many employees are working remotely, children are receiving online education, and so many other things are being done virtually. Likewise, taking care of health and wellness has also become a virtual aspect. With the gyms closing down to maintain social distancing and lack of commute to the workplace, many people are not getting the required physical activity for the day, which is bound to impact their health and wellness.
Many employers across the globe have started implementing employee wellness programs to ensure their workforce is healthy and to reduce the impact caused by the pandemic on employee health and wellness. Right from offering the best-suited corporate wellness challenges ideas to improve holistic health, to the wellbeing initiatives to boost employee engagement and workplace wellness, employers are looking out for the best corporate wellness companies who can help them achieve it all.
With things getting virtual since the pandemic, employers are looking for different ways to bring health and wellness to their remote working employees, right at their homes. One of the effective employee engagement strategies that also work wonders to boost employee wellness is – Virtual wellness challenges.
Virtual wellness challenges ideas can help in keeping employees active, healthy, and engaged, without having to go to the gym or outdoors. They must be well-designed to focus on employee mental and physical health.
Here are the top 5 virtual wellness challenges ideas to improve employee mental health and physical fitness that employers can include in their corporate wellness programs –
1. Virtual Physical Fitness Classes
The benefits of exercising are many. However, remote working has increased demotivation and procrastination in most employees. While the regular exercisers are missing their gyms, the ones who had the minimum physical activity by commuting to the workplace or having casual walks during lunch breaks are not getting even that little of it. Employers can encourage employees to get active and fit, even while working remotely, by offering virtual physical fitness classes. Along with the physical activity wellness challenges ideas, Wellness360 also offers virtual journey challenges that include virtual tours across the world, with step count goals aiming to improve physical activity.
The corporate wellness programs can include the virtual wellness challenges ideas to increase daily step count, weight training at home, cardio at home, or yoga, for the workforce to take charge of their physical fitness. Employers can seek feedback from the employees through surveys or polls, and offer virtual physical fitness classes 2 – 3 times a week with videos or as wellness challenges, via the wellness program platform.
2. Healthy Eating Challenges
Nutrition plays a major role in maintaining good physical health. Even before the pandemic, immunity was a huge concern for many, and right now, boosting our immune system has become a necessity to fight infections or illnesses. Working remotely has taken a toll on healthy eating, eating on time, and diet routines. Since healthy eating habits can help improve immunity, employers can include nutrition-based healthy virtual wellness challenges ideas in the employee wellness program to promote healthy eating.
Employers can conduct virtual sessions with nutritionists who can educate employees about healthy eating habits, the do’s and dont’s of eating right, and likewise. Virtual wellness challenges ideas for healthy eating can include drinking 8 glasses of water daily, having 5 serves of fruits or vegetables, eating seasonal produce, and more. Fix one day of the week for virtual team lunches where they can share tips and recipes. Give a dish or ingredient and have them cook different dishes and share the recipes. Employers can also offer healthy food and snack boxes as incentives to employees who successfully complete their wellness challenges. While the incentives can motivate other employees to complete their challenges, the healthy snacks ensure that they snack on something healthy, rather than something unhealthy or junk.
3. Virtual Mental Wellness Challenges
There is enough evidence proving the impact of the pandemic on employee mental health. According to a study by The Standard, almost 49% of the American employee population developed mental health issues during the pandemic. The declining employee mental health affected their overall wellbeing and also affected their productivity and business growth. To overcome employee mental health concerns, employers can implement virtual mental wellness challenges for a remote workforce.
The virtual mental challenges ideas or wellbeing initiatives can include – yoga sessions, meditation classes, hobby challenges, motivational workshops, and more. Employers can hire counselors who can guide and motivate employees through virtual one-on-one sessions.
4. Ensuring Employee Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance has gone for a toss with employees working overtime under remote circumstances. Most employers seem to have forgotten that working from home does not entitle the workforce to be available 24 x 7 or on weekends. While the fine line of work-life balance seems to be disturbed, it is impacting employee wellness and workplace culture in many ways.
Employers can ensure a healthy work-life balance by offering them regular time-offs, flexible working hours, no-work-on-weekend policies, and similar ideas. Employees are bound to appreciate such pro-workforce gestures, which reflect in better employee engagement and positive workplace culture.
5. Employee Engagement and Team Wellness Challenges
Along with the wellbeing concerns, employee engagement of a remote workforce has become one of the major reasons for worry. With employees away from each other, and little time for communication that would happen over coffee or lunch breaks at work, the engagement and teamwork seem to be getting affected. Employers are looking for different ways to keep employees engaged at work and to bond with the teams, as they would have done at the workplace, and offering suitable wellness challenges ideas may help in boosting employee engagement and build stronger teams.
Employers can arrange for virtual book clubs where remote teams can mingle well, socialize, and bond while having conversations about it. Organize happy hours once a week with virtual tea/coffee sessions, icebreaker games, and other engaging activities. Have team challenges for physical fitness to see which team makes the most steps in a week, and healthy eating challenges with the highest water consumption count or veggies count.
For many employees, working remotely makes them feel ‘out-of-loop’, and these changes can impact their health and wellness in many ways. Employers must address employee health and wellness concerns, while working remotely and ensure no burnout or stress issues. Well-planned employee wellness programs with best-suited virtual wellness challenges ideas that focus on holistic wellness dimensions can boost employee engagement, keep them healthy, active, and productive, and improve organizational productivity.