The world of work saw a major change in 2020 in many ways as a result of the pandemic. With more workers creating at home offices and navigating a new work/life balance, employee wellness for remote workers in 2021 needs to adapt as well. 

The cost of traditional employee wellness programs is generally a significant investment and may be a barrier for some employers ability to implement a full scale solution. With offices now standing empty or partially occupied, companies may now be free to reassign office expenses toward at-home offerings for their employees. 

Many of the traditional employee wellness offerings will remain, but here are some non-traditional considerations to support employee wellness for remote workers in 2021.

Upgrade home office space

A study of 100,000 employees found that remote worker job satisfaction was directly related to their home office space. Physical space matters. Small adjustments to lighting, home office chairs, and other ergonomic considerations make a difference and will be money well spent for employers. An ergonomic coach might be a worthwhile investment in your employee wellness for remote workers, too, allowing them to meet via Zoom for visual assistance. 

Customize to employee needs

While buying in bulk is often cost saving, it isn’t an ideal solution for at-home workers. Spaces and needs vary for each employee. Provide a stipend for employees to dedicate to home office improvements like better desks and better monitors or consider finding a procurement service that allows employees to choose from a variety of options. This can help keep your budget in check while also giving your employees flexibility to meet their needs.

Upgrade technology

Internet speed, connectivity issues, and other tech challenges create stress for employees and employers alike, not to mention the financial repercussions of lost time and business. Including technology upgrades as part of employee wellness for remote workers will support stronger emotional wellbeing and minimize performance barriers. New software, hardware, or subscription services might also be needed to support remote work. Assess your organization’s needs and expectations around the use of technology and customize your support. 

Offer substitutes

Remote workers no longer benefit from the perks they once had working from the office. Free lunches, ping pong tables, and yoga classes are no longer of use for them. Consider swapping this cost savings by offering alternatives to your employees to promote employee wellness for remote workers. Provide them gift cards for food, a pass to a local gym, or subscription to an online fitness program. Host an online scavenger hunt or game night. These small extras will promote better engagement and wellbeing as remote workers feel valued. 

With 59% of the workforce reporting that they would prefer to continue working remotely after the pandemic, companies will need to offer employee wellness for remote workers if they shift to a work from home model. While physical wellbeing and mental health support top the list of needs, some of these smaller shifts toward making employees at home life a little bit easier will go a long way in employee wellness and engagement.