At a time when the spread of COVID-19 makes every cough or sniffle seem like a potential emergency, business leaders are finding themselves revamping their companies into remote work operations.
They’ll join the innumerable organizations that already have done so — 43% of U.S. workers, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, work off-site some or all of the time. And among the many issues that leaders must consider is the physical wellbeing of newly remote workers.
Gallup research shows that the five interconnected elements of wellbeing — career, social, financial, community and physical — affect everything from our job performance to our health status. For example, job search intent over the next 12 months among workers who lack high engagement and high wellbeing is 33%. Employee engagement alone lowers this to just 13%, and high wellbeing on top of engagement brings job search intent down to the single digits, to 8%. And when strengths-based development is included, job search intent is cut in half, to just 4%.
Those interconnected elements of wellbeing touch the lives of remote workers just as much as anyone else — but right now, leaders need to be particularly attuned to remote workers’ physical wellbeing. They won’t get exercise from climbing office stairs or walking the halls like they used to, and few homes feature a salad bar like company cafeterias do. Meanwhile, gyms are closing all over the country, people may not want to brave crowded stores to buy healthy food, and in-home quarantines may plant people inside for weeks.
But remote workers can still achieve physical wellbeing — and should, for their sake and your productivity. This is what you should encourage them to do.