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How and Why Should Leaders Prioritize Wellness Within Their Remote Teams

by Melanie Peterson
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Physical, emotional and mental wellness are key components for every individual to survive and thrive in their lives. These aspects are becoming more prominent in productive work cultures too. The bottomline is that the overall wellness of the employee directly enhances or reduces her/his productivity and quality of work. While the physical and mental health of an individual is often interdependent, there could be many other reasons and causes for a decline in both or either one.  Experts have steadily been building their case on maintaining physical and mental health more than ever now. The pandemic and its consequents have taken a toll on families, organizations and individuals, and have made everyone realize the importance of health and mental well-being. 

Financial instability, lack of personal time, unhealthy lifestyles, non-interactive work cultures are just some of the most common reasons for the decline in an employee’s overall wellness. The ongoing pandemic has escalated the stress factors to another level. Leaders should prioritize wellness within their teams and ensure a healthy atmosphere as it would help the members cope with and navigate through these tough times without compromising on the quality of work.

Most importantly, leaders themselves should prioritize their well-being and adapt healthy and mindful practices that will help them stay motivated and driven and will inspire their team members. As the saying goes – “You cannot fill from an empty cup”. 

A sign of a true leader is to first look after themselves and inculcate the attitude and habits required to stay healthy and happy.

Before we get into the various methods that can be used to achieve this goal, it is important to keep in mind that due to current situation around the world, most offices have turned to virtual operating practices and there is a lack of personal interaction, organisational structure, and change of surroundings among other factors. In turn, this results in further dip in motivation, a decline in healthy lifestyles and prominent communication gaps.

How leaders and organizations can ensure and prioritize wellness within their teams.

1. Form a close-knit community of employees – Team leaders should emphasize on increased interpersonal communication and team building exercises which will lead to active participation by everybody. This will help forge a bond between colleagues. Fun interactive virtual sessions, game nights, occasional meetings to talk and share each member’s personal and professional experiences and struggles could be some ways to strengthen this bond and make the employees feel they have a safe space within the professional space environment to open up.

2. Handle health challenges – A healthy lifestyle and eating habits directly affect the functioning of our brain and productivity. Introducing health challenges like recording active running hours, sharing yoga, meditation, music and other experiences with the team can help them stay motivated and look after themselves better.

3. Encourage taking intervals and asking for time off – Team leaders can ensure a structure where there is enough room to relax between working hours. This way, the lines between personal time and work time remain clear. Working at any or all times will result in exhaustion and burnout.

4. Recognize efforts and rewards – Words of encouragement and appreciation from time to time can do wonders to the productivity of the employees and boost their morale. It not only helps in consistency of performance but also inspires them to do better and set new benchmarks. Along with recognition, rewards like extra time off, perks and incentives are always appreciated and valued by employees. 

5. Think about hosting online sessions – Hosting online sessions by inviting professionals from the field of wellness and mental health can help educate them on how to keep up with these challenging times and acknowledge and address any mental or physical issues they experience early on for timely assistance. 

Hire a virtual team from India – India has a pool of qualified resources that have the knowledge and skills for technology, software development, internet marketing, content marketing, engineering, sales, etc. and possess a strong command of the English language. This not only makes it easier to increase your productivity and results but they are also known for their professional etiquette and time management. Their overall wellness can also be looked after by open communication and the exchange of ideas and opinions from time to time.

It is imperative that before team leaders, organizations, family members and friends look after or check on employees, the latter remain educated and updated. Employees must reflect and analyse upon their well-being and adapt the habits they need to achieve that balance. Creating an environment where self-care and caring for others go hand-in-hand is hardly a Utopian dream. 

Summary: 

The importance holistic wellness in a work environment is becoming more and more relevant in current circumstances and work-space challenges. Remote teams are difficult to monitor despite the technological help we have today. Team leaders can curate innovative ways to ensure this balance of work productivity and wellness of employees and they have proven to be effective and helpful. Collective activity not only enhances work productivity and performance it also gives a boost to employee’s wellbeing and happiness. 

Remote team structures have adapted to new ways to engage among themselves and stay connected to each other. Team leaders can supervise and organize activities that bring about atmosphere of a shared space for all and where the employees can seek and ask for professional and personal help. Game nights, virtual talk shows, one on one conversation sessions between team leaders and employees are some very basic and effective methods to achieve this.

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