4 ways to connect on-site and remote employees through your wellness program

Remote staff used to be the exception. It’s quickly becoming the rule. As corporate offices and fitness centers begin to reopen in stages, companies are faced with an unusual situation.

“Nobody could ever have anticipated this situation,” said Robert Fernandez-Vinas, a senior regional director at EXOS. “There’s always been a need for strong virtual wellness solutions, and it’s especially important as we anticipate the workforce changing drastically in terms of how and where they work.”

Some employees remain virtual, while others might be coming into the office. How do you create a seamless wellness experience for both groups? Here are four ways to do just that.

1. Embrace social media and digital communication.

Though social distancing keeps people apart for safety, social media can bring them together safely with shared health and fitness articles, livestream workouts, educational videos, and more.

“Social media sites have always been key in helping us reach people wherever they are,” says Casey Blakewood, a regional director of operations at EXOS. “Now by necessity we’ve used the platforms to provide more robust content.”

You can also share news and wellness initiatives to both on-site and remote groups with newsletters and your intranet. Even though only some are working from home, everyone needs ideas on how to stay healthy both at home and at the office.

Digital communications are a good way to facilitate corporate-wide initiatives that would have historically been held on-site, such as a fitness challenge. Instead of pulling everyone together in-person, promote it and provide video instruction online. Even for those on-site, this can be a quick way to engage them.

2. Livestream on-site group classes.

Online group classes have been a popular trend in recent years and the pandemic only expanded the shift. Just as on-site employees flock to a class they know certain co-workers will attend, an online class taught by a high-energy instructor can draw a crowd.

“Seeing a familiar face matters,” says Fernandez-Vinas. “We’re seeing strong participation levels when popular on-site coaches hold virtual classes.”

Group fitness instructors develop a loyal following and as health centers reopen it can seem like a happy reunion on the first day back. Piggyback on that energy by livestreaming your on-site classes — which should be properly social distanced, of course — to your remote audience so everyone can wave hi.

3. Go one-on-one.

Meeting with a performance coach regularly isn’t always practical in a busy, on-site setting. It might actually be easier in the virtual world via Facetime and Zoom, where appointments are the norm and, at least during the pandemic, people seem to have more flexibility to schedule time with a coach.

That one-on-one interaction with a coach can make a big difference for those that feel lost in a livestreamed class. “The coaches might not be physically next to you, but they’re still able to count reps, comment on technique, and tweak form,” Blakewood said. “Clients often need a little more motivation to train when they’re at home, which is why remote coaching is so important.”

For those employees training on-site, they might find themselves with more access to staff and equipment with more colleagues working remotely. It can also be a chance to reach out to employees who haven’t engaged with consults before and encourage them to take advantage of the quieter gym.

4. Connect widespread employees with small group training.

Just as two or three athletes of similar interests and experience might share a group lesson or training session at a gym, tennis court, or driving range, dispersed employees could share a small virtual training session.

“People with common goals can be put together,” Fernandez-Vinas. “That’s always popular in an on-site setting, and we can do that virtually with people who work remotely all the time or those that work at different locations.”

In the past group training was limited to those in the cubicles around you, now you could have someone from another office virtually join your session and build a sense of community, no matter their location. This could also expand offerings for your on-site members who want to try a small group training class that’s only available at another location.

Looking for fitness class options for your remote and in-person employees? Follow along at exosathome.com.

About the Author

Pete Williams

Florida-based writer Pete Williams is a longtime editorial contributor to EXOS.

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