Over the long months of lockdown, it’s become clear that even jobs once thought impossible to do from home – whether for the environment, the resources needed, the people management or the collaboration required – can, in fact, be taken out of the traditional office and executed perfectly well from people’s home-working spaces.
Not only that, but productivity has reportedly remained high, albeit some sectors have performed better than others. Deloitte research indicates that across the board, 55% of workers believe their colleagues have been just as productive during lockdown, if not more so, than they were before.
Dare we say it, many have also enjoyed a better work-life balance as a result of home-working (even if some have had the unenviable task of juggling their own work commitments with supervising home schooling).
Working from home has shown itself to, well, work.
There are, of course, challenges: commuting from bed to home desk burns far fewer calories than trekking into the office using public transport, so we’ve all been getting a bit unfit, while all this screen time has reduced true human contact and brought with it a wave of mental health issues. Indeed, Deloitte also reports that 38% of workers say lockdown has had a negative impact on their wellbeing.
Humans are, of course, social creatures, and the lockdown blues aren’t purely down to working from home; once we’re allowed to spend quality time with family and friends again, not seeing our colleagues is likely to have less of an impact on our wellbeing.
Plus, we will start going back into communal office spaces. We will get to see our colleagues, catch up on each others’ news, meet in person rather than via Zoom.
However, even as cities around the world re-open for business – and even when social distancing is relaxed to the point that all employees could feasibly be in the office at the same time – a return to the old ‘commute to the office every day’ regime seems highly unlikely.
Indeed, Deloitte found that after lockdown, 61% of workers would prefer to work from home more often. Hybrid working – part-time in the office, part-time from home – is with us for the long term.
So, what does this mean for the corporate wellbeing agenda, which had really started to take off pre-COVID?
The answer is simple: with the evolution of working routines, any employer not already providing an employee wellness programme that spans both physical and mental health – and that includes provision both in and away from the office – must set something up as soon as feasibly possible.
Here to help
Let’s briefly backtrack and re-establish the need for a wellbeing programme in the first place. Employers should be aware of the commercial value of keeping their workforce fit and well. This isn’t just some altruistic thing, investing in fluffy initiatives to convey a caring image to employees and would-be employees. Hard data is on-hand to quantify the impact of physical activity on businesses’ bottom line.
A study by Swedish university Karolinska Institutet found that, even when employees took time out of their working hours to exercise, they still achieved the same – or in some cases even higher – levels of productivity. Meanwhile, a Harvard study highlighted further productivity benefits, establishing that exercise can enhance creativity, sharpen the memory, improve concentration and promote quicker learning.
The challenge for employers now, as we say, is that they can’t just offer a wellbeing programme on-site. They need to reach their employees at home too. In fact, if anything, the home offering is even more important right now than the in-office provision.
Wexer is on-hand to help, with a range of mobile solutions that allow employers to give their employees a world-class wellbeing experience, wherever they are.
Our white label Web Player, for example, offers ‘any time, anywhere, any internet-enabled device’ access to hundreds of premium quality on-demand wellbeing programmes. There’s something for everyone, from more traditional cardio and strength workouts to dance, meditation, yoga, pilates and stretching – and far more besides. Some classes have even been designed specifically to ease and re-mobilise bodies that have been sat at a desk all day long.
For employers that already have their own app, our SDK is the ideal solution – a piece of code that allows any organisation to unlock whatever virtual fitness and wellbeing content they choose from the Wexer app and drop it straight into their own app.
And of course, for those forward-thinking companies already looking at how to re-invent their office spaces – how they might create experiences within them that will justify a commute – wellbeing is once again high up the agenda. With Wexer Virtual, you can turn a meeting room into a multi-purpose space, with – for example – high-energy classes on-screen in the morning, meditation at lunchtime and yoga classes in the evening.
With our first-class ecosystem of digital fitness and wellbeing, you have everything you need to support your employees’ health and wellness, 24/7, 365 – whether they’re working from home, travelling on business (it will happen again one day!) or in the office.
We’re here to help you create a world-class, ‘any time, anywhere’ wellness offering for your employees. Find out more at email@example.com