10 steps to launching a remote wellbeing program
Step one: Get senior leader buy-in
Buy-in from senior leaders works on two levels. First, unless you're in control of the purse strings, they’re the ones who have the final say on how much budget you’ll get. Second, the more visibly they’re taking part in your wellbeing initiatives, the more it will resonate with your employees.
We recommend doing your research and finding stats that are relevant to your industry or business to help you sell your ideas.
Step two: Find out what your people want
Want to know exactly what your remote workers want from a wellbeing program? Ask them!
The quickest way is to send out a survey with a few questions asking how they currently feel about their wellbeing, what they feel they need help with and what they would like to see. You can also invite people to give one-on-one feedback if you want greater context on their needs. Don’t forget to cover the three main areas of wellbeing – physical, emotional and financial.
You’ll get a lot more buy-in with your remote wellbeing program if you tailor it to exactly what your people want.
Step three: Perform a health check
It’s easier to see how effective your wellbeing program is when you know how healthy your remote workers are before launch. And you don’t need a background in medicine to do it!
Collate all the data you can – with absence rates, staff turnover numbers and how your employees responded to feeling about their wellbeing from your staff survey as the three main data points.
And when you have the baseline health of your workforce, you can track it over time to see how effective your wellbeing program is.
Step four: Make a plan and set goals
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. So based on your own research and analysis, build a roadmap of the actions you’ll take and formally document your goals. Linking the program to existing company initiatives and demonstrating ROI will add extra credibility.
A simple plan might look something like this:
Employees want to feel more connected
- Set-up communal initiatives
- Encourage and formalise recognition
Employees want to build up savings
- Improve financial education
- Help employees spend less
Employees want to improve mental health
- Reduce stress
- Promote mindfulness
Once you have a clear idea of the actions you’d like to take, do the research into costs per item. One thing to keep in mind when planning your budget is to compare it to the cost of not launching a remote wellbeing program. That could include the business cost of not reducing absenteeism and staff turnover.
Step five: Choose what to include
At this step you should have a good idea of what your at-home employees want and how much budget you can allocate from your plan. Now it’s time to put the wheels in motion and solve the problems. Consider the elements mentioned in this ebook, as well as other initiatives that address a holistic view of wellness.
Your update plan should now look something like this:
- Employees want to feel more connected
- Set-up communal initiatives – start a running club with prizes
- Encourage recognition – introduce new recognition platform
- Employees want to build up savings
- Improve financial education – provide online financial advice
- Help employees spend less – provide employee discounts
- Employees want to improve mental health
- Reduce stress – set-up formal switch-off sessions
- Promote mindfulness – provide online yoga classes
Step six: Recruit wellbeing champions
Traditional wellbeing programs are often spearheaded by wellbeing teams who will champion the message of health and wellness across your business. This doesn’t have to be any different for a remote workforce, you just have to be a little more focussed.
Look across your departments and identify people who would be willing ambassadors in each team to champion wellbeing. Ideally, you’d have one person per team which meet over video calls regularly. That way they can talk to their team about the initiatives you’re launching as well as getting feedback and answering questions about wellbeing.
If you find it hard to recruit enough champions for each team, you can send out a casting call for those who want to be ambassadors. They can then liaise with remote team managers to drop into their video calls every now and spread the message of wellbeing.
Step seven: Promote your program
This step is probably the most important and most difficult for remote teams – if people don’t know a wellbeing program exists, they won’t use it.
Through a combination of blitzing the communication channels you have, encouraging managers to speak to their team directly and relying on your wellbeing champions, you need to create a buzz. The more you press home the message that this program is tailored to their wellbeing and will positively affect their lives, the more engagement you’ll see.
Step eight: Set challenges
Challenges are also a great way to make people aware of your wellbeing program. We’ve got a few running at Perkbox for our remote employees, including a running club and a burpee challenge.
It’s easy to set up a running club the way we’ve done it. All you need are the people who want to join and get them to track their runs on Strava. The jogging lovers will no doubt already have this app anyway.
We have a wellbeing champion who created a running group on the Strava app as well as a channel on Slack – our instant messenger. Those in the group can compete against the distances and times of their colleagues. And to bring them closer together, they’ve even set times to run at the same time as each other!
Our burpee challenge worked by Maddie Pozlevic, our Employee Experience Leader, filming herself doing three burpees and nominating three others to do the same.
Inevitably this got round to someone naming our CEO who duly obliged and filmed himself doing his burpees. And as we outlined in step one, seeing a senior leader get involved, more people took notice of our wellbeing program as a result.
Step nine: Measure the impact
Depending on your preference or how you track other initiatives at your company, let a set amount of time pass before measuring the impact of your wellbeing program. Say you choose to track it every three months. Allow the time to pass and see if the results you recorded from your initial health check have increased.
You can also track it alongside other elements of your business. Have you seen productivity increase, for example? Or have managers anecdotally said the morale of their remote teams has increased? These are just two examples of the wider measurements you can take on the impact of your remote wellbeing program. It’s highly likely you’ve already got some in mind for your company.
Step ten: Celebrate your success
Report back to your people by sharing success stories of how your wellbeing programme has made a positive effect. This could be from the stats you found when measuring the impact or from testimonials shared by employees. They have the double-edged use of showing the benefits of good wellbeing and promoting it to your employees even further.
And, of course, don’t forget to celebrate your hard work. You could treat yourself to a well-earned break or a glass of wine. However you want to celebrate is fine by us.