One big question to think about as you embark on a wellness initiative is “how will I reach and include all of my organization’s employees?” This is important because the number of employees who work away from the office, in remote or home based offices, continues to grow. According to Global Workplace Analytics regular work-at-home has grown 102 percent since 2005 and half of the US workforce has a job that is compatible with telework.
So the chances are good that you’ll need to plan an initiative that extends beyond your physical workplace. This means you’ll want to think specifically about your remote workers as you design, implement and evaluate your worksite wellness initiative.
Building infrastructure and gaining support from all levels of your organization is key to a successful wellness initiative. Be sure to include the remote employee perspective.
- Choose remote employees for your Wellness Committee
- Plan face-to-face wellness committee meetings either onsite or via video conferencing
- Keep remote employees tightly in the loop through fast and easy ways to communicate
- Ensure that senior leaders acknowledge remote employee participation in their communications
Make certain employee surveys and organizational assessments address your remote employees.
- Include engagement and productivity questions
- Ensure easy access to surveys to gain participation
- Tailor environmental assessments to accommodate a remote workforce
- Capture policies and programs specific to remote workers (e.g. flex time)
Develop implementation and communication strategies that purposely address remote employees.
- Use a centralized web-based portal for delivery, management and tracking of your wellness initiative (e.g. WebMD)
- Choose interventions and programs that accommodate remote workers such as virtual behavior change competitions (e.g. walking, bicycling)
- Design policies that support a health promoting culture for all employees
- Develop communications plans for each of your employee audiences (onsite at headquarters, satellite locations, remote employees in the US and abroad)
Additionally, make remote employees an integral part of your evaluation plan to ensure programming is effective and worthwhile for them.
- Host a focus group for remote employees
- Develop a satisfaction survey targeted toward remote employees
- Invite new remote employees to the Wellness Committee
By making sure you think about remote employees throughout your wellness initiative’s development cycle, you’ll be sure to include the special logistics required to make them feel included and valued.