This year, World Mental Health Day comes at a time when we need more psychosocial support more than ever as a result of the global health pandemic. The past few months have brought challenges for individuals and companies alike, and the social distancing measures implemented by governments all around the world have forced many employees to transition to remote work.
While many companies might already have an adequate employee wellness program in place, it’s likely that most of them weren’t created with a remote workforce in mind. With the rise in coronavirus pandemic-related anxiety as well as the social isolation of working from home for months on end, it has become vital that companies get creative about how to virtually foster the well-being of their remote employees.
As a long-time remote company, we’ve put together some ideas for virtual wellness activities that focus on improving the mental health of your team and can be easily undertaken with the help of online video conferencing tools.
Did you know that engaging in the arts can help to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing no matter your skill level? Get your team’s creative juices flowing and organize a virtual paint or DIY party on a Friday afternoon.
This activity is suitable for small budgets too – it’s as easy as allocating some funds for employees to buy a few cheap art supplies, organizing a Zoom call, playing some music and arranging for everyone to draw, paint or create something! At the end of the session, simply set up a poll so participants can choose the winning piece and arrange for a small, fun prize to be given to the winner.
Practicing gratitude is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to counteract negative thoughts and promote feelings of happiness, yet many of us wouldn’t have even considered it before. You don’t have to make this exercise compulsory, but your employees might appreciate it if you invite them to take on a one-month gratitude challenge. There are several free calendars online with a list of challenges for you and your team to try out.
You can even customize your own challenge by giving your team their own gratitude journal or sharing your own daily gratitude reminders on the group chat.
Lunch and learns have become very popular over the years, and for good reason – they provide an open, relaxed learning environment and allows for employee training without taking away from a standard workday. So, why not take a poll on what topics your team feel would benefit their mental health or would be interested to hear about and hire a speaker to give a talk.
The great thing about virtual talks is that you’re not limited by geography when choosing a speaker! It’s probably best not to hire someone who’d have to give a talk at 3am their time though.
With most of us no longer able to visit our favourite gym, a home workout is the next best thing to get a quick boost of endorphins (your body’s natural happy hormone). It’s fairly simple to put together a little pack of free workout videos your employees could easily try out at home or hire a yoga or exercise teacher to lead your team in a virtual class. Even if something goes wrong (have you ever tried to do a workout with a pet around?), they’re a fun way to get a sweat on and provide a talking point during your next team happy hour!
If you want to take it one step further, you can organize a special challenge such as splitting your team into smaller groups and having them compete to see who does more steps/minutes of exercise/meditation over the course of a few months! When you set your team up to have a healthy body, they’re more likely to have a healthy mind too.
This is very straightforward – each team member writes and sends a positive message about another member to the organiser. The messages can then be anonymously collated and posted on your shared communications channel or a Kudoboard. It's great to do after getting to company milestones (both big and small), and recognizing each other's work.
There is growing evidence to suggest that volunteering – the simple act of giving your time or donating – can lead to a boost in mental health. With many non-profit organizations offering opportunities to volunteer remotely during the pandemic, companies can encourage employees to spend a few hours a month doing volunteering work and offer prizes for those that who decide to do so.
It might be a challenging time for everyone, but as a company, you are in the position to make a positive contribution to the community and promote the mental being of your employees at the same time, win-win!
Sharing is caring! What are your company’s favourite virtual activities to promote mental wellness? Let us know – we'd love to feature you on our social media platforms and blog! Just email the BOOQED team at firstname.lastname@example.org.