- The pandemic has forced many organizations to reconsider and shift their priorities, and for wellness programs and workplace amenities, it means that change is imminent.
- The way companies support work needs to evolve quickly, particularly now many people are working remotely on a full- or part-time basis.
- From ergonomic furniture to natural light, organizations must ensure that workers have access to the right tools and resources with safety and wellness in mind.
COVID-19 has changed the way we work. Though some changes are temporary, many will be long-lived. Though the return to the office will happen, it will be a different workplace experience and part of this difference will be caused by a change in workplace amenities.
Over the past several years, workplace amenities have become a staple for most companies. From gym passes and on-site workout classes, to free food and happy hours, organizations saw these amenities as a way to strengthen company culture, foster engagement, and create a sense of community and belonging among employees.
Though these amenities and programs served organizational goals, they also helped promote productivity, creativity, and well-being. In fact, improving the well-being of employees has been one of the main drivers of offering a plethora of amenities and programs in the workplace over the past couple of years.
So, why is there now a need to reimagine workplace wellness programs and amenities?
We can blame the pandemic. But beyond that, the reason why organizations will need to reimagine their wellness strategy is because the way we work has changed, and this means the way companies support work will need to evolve as well.
Reimagining Workplace Amenities and Programs
The pandemic has forced many organizations to reconsider and shift their priorities.
Take for example, working from home and remote work. Corporate sentiment towards remote work has changed drastically over the past 6 months, so much in fact that many organizations have already confirmed that they will allow employees to work remotely at least part-time on a permanent basis.
What does this mean for wellness programs and workplace amenities?
It means that change is imminent.
Various surveys have found that workers are eager to go back to the office for a variety of reasons. Truth is, a company’s wellness programs and amenities contributed to a person’s overall workplace experience. The issue with many of these amenities is that they were offered on-site only, and since people started working remotely, they no longer have access to them.
As organizations increasingly turn to remote work as a permanent solution, they need to start thinking of ways in which they will provide employees with access to certain workplace wellness programs and amenities.
In some cases, certain programs and amenities can be easily replicated for remote workers. For example, if your organization typically offers access to healthy foods or snacks on a weekly basis, consider partnering with a catering company to provide that same service to remote employees. If your company offers access to a gym, consider subsidizing part of the cost of a gym membership or offer your remote employees access to a premium smartphone app that can help them meet their workout and activity goals.
Beyond programs and amenities like the ones mentioned above, think also about the physical workplace.
Does your office provide ergonomic furniture? What about access to natural light? What about a variety of work areas?
Though employees cannot exactly re-create the workplace in their homes, it is important that organizations help ensure that their employees have access to the tools and resources that can facilitate their work.
In this sense, some organizations are considering helping employees pay for the costs associated with setting up a home office (e.g. ergonomic chair and desk, lighting, connectivity, technology infrastructure, etc.).
Additional Workplace Wellness Programs that Can be Reimagined for Remote Workers
- Remote access to continuous learning and development opportunities.
- Virtual access to meditation sessions and guided fitness classes.
- Virtual networking events.
- Remote concierge services (if your company offers them on-site).
- Company sponsored coworking memberships.
At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure that remote workers (part-time or full-time) feel as much part of the company as their on-site counterparts. As organizations shift towards hybrid work models, it’s essential that they are able to bridge the gaps that will likely arise between remote workers and office workers in order to maintain and nurture their company culture and experience.