The Secret to Improving Remote Employee Health and Addressing Burnout

Remote work is here to stay. Recent data show that more than 40% of full-time employees work from home or enjoy a hybrid schedule. This shift presents unique challenges for employers looking to support the health and well-being of a scattered workforce. Learn about the unseen forces shaping the health habits of remote workers and the top strategies to support remote employee health. 

The Power of Peers 

An employee’s social circle is an often overlooked but powerful influence in shaping the health habits of both remote and in-office workers. Research shows that those we surround ourselves with can set the norm for healthy behavior. Whether it’s trying to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle, the support and examples set by friends, family, spouses, and co-workers can play a significant role.

The Ripple Effect of Healthy Choices

This social influence goes beyond just setting an example. Research suggests that a social circle’s health decisions can significantly impact behaviors, with individuals surrounded by health-conscious peers tending to eat healthier and engage in more physical activity. 

This phenomenon extends to exercise as well. A study of more than one million runners uncovered a “social contagion” effect.  The research found that sharing running activities on social media motivated friends to push themselves further, run faster, or increase their distance. This highlights the power of social connections in motivating individuals to achieve their fitness goals and lead healthier lifestyles.

Unhealthy Habits Can Spread Through Social Circles

The influence of social circles isn’t limited to just health habits. Unhealthy behaviors like obesity can also be contagious. Studies show a significant increase in someone’s risk of becoming obese if a close friend or family member is overweight. The risk jumps by 57% with an obese close friend, 40% with an obese sibling, and 37% with an obese spouse. 

Scientists aren’t entirely sure how social ties impact obesity, but one theory suggests a shift in social norms. When someone in a close social circle gains weight, it might become more acceptable for others to do the same. This normalization can create a cycle of unhealthy habits within social groups.

Beyond Social Influence: Addressing Burnout 

While social circles can influence health habits, remote employees face another hidden challenge: burnout. The constant barrage of video meetings and calls, the pressure of an “always on” culture, and the blurred lines between office and home life make it difficult to mentally disconnect, ultimately leading to burnout. 

Top Strategies to Support Remote Employee Health

The key to a thriving remote work environment lies in prioritizing employee well-being, both mental and physical. Here are three key strategies employers can implement:

  1. Regular check-ins: Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to assess employee well-being and create a safe space for open communication. 
  2. Flexible work arrangements: Offer flexible work hours and encourage breaks throughout the day. Allow employees to tailor their schedules to accommodate personal and family needs.
  3. Promote recovery time: Remind remote employees to take breaks, step away from screens, and prioritize time for rest and rejuvenation. 

The Power of Exercise for Remote Workers

Encouraging physical activity is a powerful tool employers can use to support remote employee health and combat burnout. Here’s how exercise can make a difference: 

  • Stress Reduction: Regular exercise is a natural stress reliever. By releasing endorphins, exercise improves mood and helps alleviate feelings of anxiety which can be a side effect of remote work.
  • Increased Productivity: Exercise improves blood circulation, leading to better oxygen flow to the brain. This translates to enhanced cognitive function and focus, making employees more productive and efficient.
  • Energy Boost: Physical activity increases energy levels by improving overall fitness. Energized employees can tackle tasks with greater enthusiasm and resilience, even in a remote setting.

As remote and hybrid models blur the lines between work and personal life, employers should recognize the impact of social connections and burnout on remote employee health. While employers can’t control social circles, proactive strategies can help all team members thrive in a virtual environment.

Aaptiv as a Resource to Support Every Employee

Aaptiv ‘s all-in-one employee wellness solution is designed to support in on-site, hybrid and remote employees’ lifestyles, with personalized workout plans, access to a network of more than 19,000 national and local gyms, and over 9,500+ on-demand fitness and mindfulness classes. With PEAR’s Training Intelligence, Aaptiv’s adaptive coaching helps users stay motivated and engaged with their exercise routine. As users progress through their workouts, it adapts to their performance in real-time, providing feedback and adjustments to ensure they get the most out of their workout. This hyper-personalized approach can help employees achieve their fitness goals and improve their health and well-being.

Learn more about Aaptiv employee fitness and wellness benefits.

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