Of all the impacts a massive shift to remote work has had on employees and workplace culture, physical activity probably doesn’t top the list in most people’s minds; but there can be noticeable changes in an employee’s productivity, engagement and overall mental state based on changes in their level of activity, and while reducing the morning commute to the distance between the bed and the dining room table might be more convenient, it doesn’t bode well for physical activity and exercise.
Physical activity has well-established benefits for reducing stress and improving mental health, as well as brain function and productivity. Before the pandemic, many companies encouraged employee activity through office yoga, morning stretching or calisthenics routines, or discounted gym memberships. Obviously, these efforts are a bit more challenging when most staff are working from home, but getting the team moving remotely is not impossible. Here are a few ideas to help encourage teams to stay active even when working remotely.
Zoom Morning Stretch Sessions
Simply getting a good stretch in in the morning can be a great way to start the day with some mild physical activity. A short 10- to 15-minute voluntary Zoom session to start the day can be a great way for the team to stretch together.
“It is common for your body to become rigid and low in energy during sleep hours,” writes Parul Agrawal in an article for Entrepreneur. “Doing gentle stretches right after waking up loosens your muscles and helps with flexibility. Even five minutes of stretching relieves unwanted tension from your ligaments and joints, improves blood circulation and makes you feel more active.”
Build Accountability Through Shared Exercise Calendars
Accountability is key to the success of many exercise routines. Knowing someone else is keeping tabs on your workouts provides great motivation for getting to the gym or taking that morning run. An easy and fun way to build that accountability is through a shared calendar in which members of the team can mark days they’ve done some form of exercise.
Sharing Workout Tips
Sometimes just talking about working out can create a spark and push someone to get off the couch. Spending a few minutes at the start of a weekly meeting to take turns sharing interesting workout tips or techniques may just provide the inspiration a team member needs to increase his or her activity.
Physical activity has proven benefits for mental health, stress reduction, brain function, and productivity. Just because many teams are currently stuck working remotely doesn’t mean they can’t still get up and move together, though. There are a variety of activities teams can participate in together virtually.