Empower Remote Teams: Employee Wellness Programs

Robert Owen, a Welsh social reformer and manufacturer, first addressed the promotion of employee well-being in 1810; we have Owen to thank for the eight-hour workday widely used by businesses everywhere. And employee wellness has continued to evolve in the centuries since Owen.

Beginning in the 1990s, companies have implemented corporate wellness programs for their employees. The benefits of these programs are numerous for both businesses and their workforce — better physical and mental health mean fewer sick days and greater productivity.

A 2020 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 81% of large corporations have implemented wellness programs through their Human Resources (HR) departments, and small to mid-sized companies have taken advantage of the programs as well. But with an increasingly virtual global workforce, how can companies develop employee wellness programs for remote teams?

Can an outsourced HR consulting team create a remote wellness program?

A group of friends working out on a treadmill at a gym as part of an employee wellness program

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What is an employee wellness program?

In short, a corporate wellness program is offered by a business to its employees as a way to promote health and fitness. Typically, an HR department will create the program, or partner with a health insurance company to include this program in an employee benefits package.

Employers offer their teams incentives such as gift cards and discounts on gym and fitness club memberships to the team members who participate in the program. These programs may include weight loss incentives and preventative health screenings, among other proactive health measures.

Virtual wellness programs for remote teams

Virtual wellness programs are easier to implement than you may think. It’s important that employees think about their work-related health whether or not they’re in the office. If you don’t have an HR department, you can outsource HR consultants to create virtual wellness exercises and incentives to get your employees on board.

Virtual wellness programs existed even before the remote workforce expanded. These virtual programs often utilize wellness apps to get remote team members involved and to give them the ability to track their progress.

Remote work can cause feelings of isolation and create sedentary behavior — it’s easy to forget to stretch or take a quick outdoor break. When remote teams have permission to intentionally incorporate physical activity into their days, they may take advantage to refresh their mindsets and increase their work productivity.

A woman having a virtual employee wellness program meeting on her laptop

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Strategies for virtual wellness programs

Wellness programs can inject fun and productivity into your remote teams — and re-energize your employees. Employee wellness doesn’t take away from work; it enhances work. Analyze your budget before you determine the scope and size of the wellness program you want to create.

Here are 5 tips to manage work and financial stress through virtual wellness programs:

  • Allow Mental Health Days:
    One of the benefits of remote work is your team’s ability to work regardless of almost any circumstance. Remote employees are more apt to put in work time when sick than their in-office counterparts, and may work well into the after hours of your business.
    Mental health days can recenter and refocus your team members. By encouraging remote employees to take allotted mental health days, you show your team that you care about their well-being, and you may help prevent burn out.
  • Cultivate Connections:
    Encourage your remote team to connect with each other. Use message systems like Slack and provide weekly engaging questions in the general channel to foster connection.
    Remote work often promotes individual projects and can lead to feelings of disconnect. Attempts to lightly engage with other team members can help team members to feel personally valued.
  • Provide Wellness Resources:
    Create a space in your network that lists mental health resources, opportunities to cultivate holistic health, and include articles or training videos with tips for mental and physical health improvement.
  • Virtual Check-Ins:
    Whether personal check-ins via team meetings occur weekly, monthly, or biannually, taking the time to host a short collective check-in over apps like Zoom and Google Meet can help strengthen your teams’ work relationships. These meetings should occur separately from work meetings.
  • Wellness and Fitness Apps Subscriptions:
    Give employees free access to downloadable apps such as My Workout Plan and Wellable. These apps promote activity and wellness, and help remote workers to intentionally improve their health.

How to engage remote employees in virtual wellness

Offer incentives and rewards to team members that engage in your virtual wellness program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests implementing flexible work schedules and reimbursing fitness club memberships for employee participation in remote wellness.

You can also implement virtual wellness programs and maximize your remote workforce with inclusion and diversity training.

The benefits of virtual wellness programs

The Harvard Business Review states that employee wellness programs should be a strategic imperative for growing businesses, and not just a perk of the job. The return on investment (ROI) of wellness programs comes from the millions saved in employee health care and lost productivity due to a multitude of sick days.

The benefits of wellness programs for remote teams can include:

  • Employee Engagement
  • Increased Productivity
  • Decrease in High-Risk Health Issues
  • Greater Employee Retention
  • Reduction in Employee Anxiety, Depression, and Health Issues

Regardless of where employees land on the corporate ladder, mental and physical health issues can detrimentally impact energy and engagement levels along with work productivity.

A woman at home saying hi to someone she is talking to on her laptop

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How can small businesses implement virtual wellness programs?

Corporate employee wellness programs aren’t relegated to large-sized companies. Small and mid-sized businesses can easily implement wellness policies and procedures for remote teams as well.

A great HR consultant can help your small company create and implement smaller scale wellness programs for your remote employees, and ensure that incentives and rewards fit within your budget.

After you’ve had a consistent wellness program in place for six months to a year, you can audit the results of the initial implementation and decide to decrease, increase, or maintain the scope of your program.

How Europe HR Solutions can help

At Europe HR Solutions, we understand the ever-changing trends and challenges of Human Resources. We’ve helped many U.S. and U.K.-based companies navigate the labor and employment laws and nuances of Europe as they expand their operations.

You shouldn’t have to take on the responsibilities of arduous HR work. We can create a strategic plan for and help you implement your employee wellness program for your remote teams. Contact us for a free consultation.

Business owner surrounded by paperwork, indicating the need for HR outsourcing

How outsourcing HR can save money

If you own a small or mid-sized business, you understand how frustrating it can be to spend time and money on tasks that don’t generate revenue. The costs of building an HR department from the ground up can prove astronomical. 

When you’re launching your small business in a foreign country, especially, you’ll need HR solutions before you open your doors for daily operation. Europe HR Solutions can help.

 

The right outsourced HR team can reduce your ongoing costs in the following ways:

  • Payroll administration:

By outsourcing your HR, you can bring in vetted professionals to set up and administer your payroll system. This team can train you to ensure a seamless transition after their service contract is completed. 

You won’t have to stress over hiring long-term employees to take care of payroll, or training payroll administrators.

  • Benefits implementation:

Your outsourced HR team can help you to select the right benefits software package and enroll the employees of your small business.

  • Human resources management:

Outsourcing your HR can prove to be a game changer for your overall human resources management, too. HR consultants contribute through a wealth of experience in compliance, employee relations, and recruitment.

This saves valuable time for small business owners, mitigates the risk of legal issues and delays in operations, and provides access to the latest industry best practices and trends.

When it makes sense to outsource HR for small businesses  

International companies with fewer than 50 employees are considered small businesses, and rarely expand to Europe with an inhouse HR team already in place.

For US and UK-based small businesses that launch European operations, there’s usually a CFO who oversees broad HR tasks. 

However, the CFO or other executives managing HR for a small business launch in Europe often lacks the country-specific legal and HR expertise necessary to ensure innovative solutions that reflect the country’s best HR practices and legal compliance.

It’s important to consider the following when determining whether or not you should outsource your HR:

  • What specific HR services and support does your business require?
  • Do you have anyone on your team who’s well-versed in country-specific employee regulations and labor laws?
  • Will you need management compliance training and support?
  • Will your current employment handbook, policies, and procedures translate to adhere to the needs of employees in different countries?
  • Do you have a small HR department in place that may need help implementing payroll, benefits, training, and development?
Time is money. Outsourcing HR saves time, letting you focus on what matters.

What to expect with Europe HR Solutions

By outsourcing your HR, you may find it’s easier to take care of your daily operations and to strategize and prepare for the launch of your small business in Europe. Europe HR Solutions has supported countless small, mid, and large-sized businesses in their international HR needs.  

Whether you need our team to manage your HR and implement solutions, or you need us to help guide the HR professionals you have on staff, we can sweat the small stuff to ensure your big picture remains intact. 

You can expect Europe HR Solutions to do the following:

Act as your representatives:

We’ll act as an extension of your small business. This means we will collaborate with you and ensure we’re promoting your vision and standards in any HR matters we handle for you.

Ad hoc requests:

We understand that you may have ad hoc requests. We’re used to fast-paced, high pressure situations, and will ensure your needs are met in a timely manner.

Assist with HR strategies:

We’re committed to providing HR services that help your business grow and succeed. We’ll make certain that the innovative solutions we offer adhere to your overall business and HR strategies.

Create and implement policies and procedures:

We’ll strategize with you to create and implement your company’s policies and procedures and ensure details are in place that will help your employees thrive and create a positive work environment.

Handle employee contract needs:

We’ll help to create and manage your employee hiring processes (including talent acquisition, interviews, and onboarding checklists), employee complaint procedures, performance reviews, and off-boarding processes.

Legal compliance:

Europe HR Solutions will use our thorough knowledge of the various nuances in employment regulations and labor laws to keep your operations, policies, and procedures within legal compliance. This will help reduce your liability risk should issues with employees arise.

Manage employee and management training and development: 

We can cover government-mandated and specific position training programs to support your employees to work with excellence and grow in their positions. This includes compliance training for managers.

Recruitment: 

We can utilize the latest in talent acquisition trends and industry best practices to make sure you attract the talent you deserve to fill your staffing needs. We want to help you to build the best team possible to create a positive work culture and  a productive team.

The cost of outsourced HR services for small businesses

When to outsource your small business’s HR could be determined by your available budget. The cost of outsourcing your HR may be an upfront expense, but in the long run, it can save you significant money and protect your revenue.

The services offered by Europe HR Solutions can vary in cost, and are dependent on the extent of service you require. We can determine the cost based on the scope of the project.

For example, you may need us to manage a specific, well-defined project that allows us to estimate the cost involved. However, you may require our services on a daily basis, for an extended period of time, or find you need support in an immediate HR emergency. This may mean we will need a retainer payment or charge for an hourly rate.

How to determine your HR outsourcing needs

Before you decide to outsource your HR, it’s vital to determine what type of services you require. It can be overwhelming to discern your needs, but reflecting on and strategizing about specifics can be beneficial.

Answering the following questions may help you to understand what services you require:

  • Do you need an outsourced HR professional who takes the time to know and understand your business, staff, and culture?
  • Do you need HR professionals who are available on a daily basis?
  • Are you in dire need of help with critical talent acquisition?
  • Do you require flexibility and a large scope of HR tasks?
  • Are your needs limited to legal compliance and knowledge?
  • Do you need help developing your workplace culture?
  • Do you need to overcome language barriers?
  • What are your long-term HR needs?

Other benefits of outsourcing your HR

Once you’ve determined when to outsource HR for your small business, you may find that it allows you to streamline your operations and focus on your overall business strategy.

This strategic move reduces your administrative burdens of managing payroll, benefits, and other HR tasks in-house. The cost-effectiveness of outsourcing becomes evident as it eliminates the need for investing in HR infrastructure and ongoing training. 

This newfound flexibility can enable your small business to adapt quickly to market changes and allocate resources more efficiently. Ultimately, an outsourced HR team becomes a strategic partner, and empowers you to prioritize your employees, enhance organizational efficiency, and thrive in the competitive European business landscape.

Contact Europe HR Solutions

Europe HR Solutions understands how crucial HR is to the foundation of any successful business. We can consult with you to determine when it’s best to outsource HR for your small business, and customize innovative solutions with you. 

Your HR needs remain our greatest priority, and we want to support you in ways that promote legal compliance and allow you to see your small business dreams come to fruition. 

Connect with Europe HR Solutions today for a free consultation and be sure to check out our blog for the latest HR insights, tips, and trends. The road to success for your small business is just an HR step away.

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    Author

    Inez Vermeulen

    Inez Vermeulen

    Inez Vermeulen is the Founder and CEO of Europe HR Solutions, with over 25 years of successful corporate and entrepreneurial experience in various global industries. She has helped grow and expand the European divisions of global companies such as Coca-Cola Company, Regus, DHL, American Medical Systems, etc. Inez has received several company awards for her entrepreneurial spirit and success.

    She owns a Bachelor’s degree in French, History and Latin, several HR global expert certifications, a Master’s degree in Metaphysical Sciences, ICF Coach Certification and has completed her Doctorate on Transformational Leadership. Inez is fluent in Dutch, English, French, Italian and German. She works in partnership with an extensive international network of independent & professional companies and resides in Belgium near Brussels with her husband Jan.