You found our list of the best virtual wellness activities for remote employees.
Virtual wellness activities are online experiences that encourage work from home employees to adopt healthy habits. For example, meditation, stretch breaks and water drinking challenges. The goal of these activities is to boost employee health and have a positive effect on employee morale and productivity.
These activities are a virtual version of employee wellness ideas and are an example of online staff engagement activities. Virtual wellness is the parent category for virtual stress relief.
This list includes:
- wellness ideas for remote employees
- virtual wellness ideas
- wellness activities for virtual meetings
- virtual wellbeing activities
- virtual employee wellness programs
- virtual wellness event ideas
Let’s dive in.
List of virtual wellness activities
Here is a list of virtual activities to promote remote employee wellness in online offices.
Meditation is one of the best free virtual wellness activities. Guided meditations help teammates practice mindfulness and release stress. These exercises can be short yet effective. To do a virtual meditation, first find a guide, either by choosing a team member with a soothing voice, or listening to a guided meditation video. Send attendees a link to a short ten minute Zoom call, have everyone close their eyes, and follow the instructions of the guide.
You can also provide a library of guided meditations or subscriptions to services like Calm so that employees can access these resources when stressed and in need of soothing.
2. Stretch Break
Stretch breaks encourage employees to take a break and move around. There are two main ways to do company stretch breaks remotely.
Way #1: Schedule a guided ten minute stretch where teammates meet up on Zoom to do exercises together.
Way #2: Schedule notifications on calendars or on Slack to remind employees to take a moment to stand up, walk around, and shake out their limbs.
Making the exercise an official company event can encourage more folks to participate and take a much-needed moment for movement.
For folks who want a more in-depth stretch, yoga is a good wellness activity. Yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility, and promotes positive mental health. Scheduling occasional virtual yoga classes encourages employees to keep active and to take time to unwind. To do yoga virtually, find an instructor to lead the group during the call, or screen share a yoga routine video. Unless all of your employees do the practice regularly, it is best to stick to a beginner flow.
You can also offer subscriptions to virtual yoga classes as a virtual employee wellness perk.
For inspiration, here is a guide to doing team building yoga.
4. Water Drinking Challenge
Water drinking challenges help teams stay hydrated throughout the workday. To do this activity, first post an announcement explaining the challenge in a Slack channel. During the day, teammates should aim to drink at least five cups of water. To track the glasses, react to the original post with emojis, either five water droplets or the numbers 1 to 5. Upon finishing each glass of water, participants should click the corresponding emoji. At the end of the day, employees who drink all five glasses of water win the challenge. For extra fun, you can hold a raffle with this pool of names.
Check out more virtual challenges for teams.
Recognition is a large part of remote employee wellness. Encouraging peer-to-peer praise ensures that every employee feels seen by their coworkers, even when not literally seen by coworkers.
TeamBuilding has a #you-are-awesome channel on Slack where remote coworkers can complement each other for kind deeds and jobs well done. Other teammates often echo these congratulations with emojis or follow-up comments. The subjects of these shoutouts feel appreciated, and onlookers feel the warm fuzzies too. This exercise creates a culture of gratitude within the online workplace .
Check out more fun Slack channel ideas.
6. Zoom Workouts
Zoom workouts are a way to encourage sedentary remote employees to exercise. You can offer online group classes where attendees can have face to face time with coworkers while breaking a sweat. Group classes provide a sense of accountability, and making workouts a recurring event encourages employees to leave room in their schedules and to show up. To host a Zoom workout, first find an instructor, then create a Zoom meeting and let potential attendees know the kind of workout to expect. During the call, spotlight the instructor and pump the tunes by sharing audio on Zoom.
You can also offer individual guided fitness classes as a remote work perk so that teammates can exercise in private on their own time.
7. Online Fitness Challenge
Online fitness challenges are self-guided exercise regimens that remote employees can undertake together. At the start of the challenge, each participant agrees to a fitness goal. The goal can be the same for all participants, or personalized to each individual. Participants log progress by using time tracking software, project management software, a fitness app, or a shared spreadsheet. Teammates can cheer each other on and applaud wins together throughout the challenge, and celebrate together upon completion.
Here is a list of online fitness classes to try.
8. Channel Check-Ins
Channel check-ins are one of the most helpful wellness activities for remote employees. This simple exercise consists of posting regular check-in questions in a team or company-wide Slack channel. You can post a question such as “what are you most enjoying working on right now?” or “what are you excited about this week?” or “what are you struggling with currently?” Or, you can use the post to take a team pulse by asking employees to share how they are feeling “on a scale from 1-10” by hitting a corresponding emoji.
You can use these questions to gauge team members’ feelings about work and
This act sends the signal that you care about employee wellbeing and takes the stigma away from talking about stumbling.
Check out this list of check-in questions for employees.
9. Virtual Tea Tasting
Remote tea tasting classes are one of the most creative virtual corporate wellness activities. During these experiences, participants meet on a Zoom call to sample different teas together while learning more about the history and proper preparation of the beverage. These tastings tend to have an emphasis on mindfulness and relaxation, and can be a way for teams to wind down together while team building remotely. Usually, the host sends participants kits with different teas to try during the call. This experience is helpful because it offers remote teams social time with colleagues in addition to a calming yet fun activity.
Here is a list of virtual tea tasting experiences.
10. Goal Setting Spreadsheets
Goal setting spreadsheets encourage personal and professional development for remote employees. Each quarter, employees set an objective and put the aim on a team spreadsheet or project management board. Participants check a box for every day they work towards their goal, and each week make a note sharing how the goal is progressing. Teammates can occasionally meet up on Zoom to brainstorm, ask advice, and receive pep talks from colleagues. Managers can also make a point to touch base at least once a month with employees to offer feedback on the goals.
For tips, check out this guide to doing virtual one on ones.
11. Remote Coffee Breaks
Remote coffee breaks are one of the best virtual wellness activities for teams. These events are short video call breaks that provide distanced colleagues the chance to socialize. Interaction is important for teamwork and mental health. Remote workers often report feeling lonely or isolated from peers. Communication in virtual offices tends to happen on an as-needed basis, but casual video chats give the opportunity for the kind of casual banter that has been shown to strengthen relationships. The only rule for remote coffee breaks is that participants should talk about non-work topics.
To do remote coffee chats with your teams, tell interested employees to join a special Slack channel, and use the Donut app to regularly match up pairs. Those partners can direct message each other and set up a time for a quick call.
Check out this guide to doing remote coffee breaks.
12. Virtual Financial Literacy Workshops
Financial health is an important part of overall health, since finances can affect other areas of health such as mental or physical wellbeing. You can offer virtual financial workshops to help employees develop better money management skills. For example, TeamBuilding employees recently read “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi, then met with a pair of financial experts on Zoom for a Q&A. You can structure the workshop in whatever way suits the group, for instance, by focusing on certain areas like saving for retirement or improving credit scores.
13. Digital Pet Visits
Animals can be effective mood boosters. You can give online employees more opportunities to show off their beloved pets and see coworkers’ fuzzy companions by coordinating digital pet hangouts. You can leave time in meetings to say hi to pets, schedule short calls to hangout with creature companions, or make a dedicated Slack channel where teammates can share cute photos and videos of their critters. In case your online office is pet-deficient or the resident pets are noncooperative, you can watch animal webcam live streams together instead.
14. Healthy Living Credits
Healthy Living Credits are an allowance to put towards services and products that help employees live a healthier lifestyle, for instance gym memberships, cleaning services, and healthy food delivery. This work perk encourages team members to take care of themselves and invest in their health. To offer this bonus, give teammates guidelines on how the money can be spent, and ask participants to submit receipts for reimbursement.
Here is a list of more possible employee perks and benefits.
15. Care Packages
Care packages are one of the most beloved work from home wellness ideas. Periodically, you can send employees boxes full of self-care supplies such as candles, water bottles, tea, lotions and scrubs, self-improvement books, and healthy snacks. These gifts can make it easier for employees to practice healthy habits when working from home, and can be a pick-me-up during routine work stretches.
Check out more work from home gifts.
16. Home Office Makeover
You can offer employees a stipend of $100 to $300 to order ergonomic furniture and equipment for the home office. Beyond getting comfy chairs and standing desks, employees can use a portion of the funds to get items that make the workplace happier and more comfortable, for example, a small humidifier, a succulent, or an art print.
Pro tip: As part of the program, offer virtual consultations with ergonomic experts so that workers can get personalized recommendations for supplies to buy. It also helps to partner with brands and stores where employees can purchase these items for an additional discount.
17. Virtual Health Fair
Planning a virtual health fair puts health at the forefront of remote employees’ minds. You can plan a series of activities such as webinars, AMA’s with a doctor, one on one telehealth consultations, health fact of the day, and digital packets full of infographics and outside resources. You can also mail employees wellness kits with items like immune boosters, band aids, thermometers, and hand sanitizer.
18. Virtual Mental Health Fair
Mental health is just as important as physical health. You can plan a series of online events that encourage employees to take care of their minds the same way they take care of their bodies. For example, stress management Zoom workshops, online meditation and yoga sessions, checklists for warning signs of burnout or depression, and AMA’s with an online therapist. These experiences help to de-stigmatize the idea of tending to mental health and asking for help and urge all employees to be mindful of their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Here is a list of ideas for Mental Health Awareness Month at work.
19. Health-centric Online Lunch and Learns
You can plan online lunch and learns to educate employees about health topics. For instance, how to prioritize health while balancing work and personal responsibilities, screening methods for common conditions, selecting health insurance, being aware and an ally to colleagues with disabilities, and myths about mental illness. These sessions typically involve a video meeting lecture from an expert followed by a question and answer session. You can either gather questions before the call, or allow employees to ask in real time. The presenter can even send the employees worksheets and resources and assign “homework” to help attendees take action.
Offering to reimburse the cost of a snack or meal is a good way to encourage employees to show up and learn about the topic.
Here is a guide to doing virtual lunch and learns.
20. Health Newsletters
One of the easiest ways to promote remote employee health is via newsletter. You can plan a weekly or monthly email newsletter focusing on a different health topic. Each month, choose a theme, for example, heart health awareness month in February, or work safety. You can fill each message with facts and suggestions about the featured conditions, and link to helpful outside resources.
21. Storytelling Workshops
Self-expression is an important component of wellness. Sharing stories is a way to unburden oneself from hardships and connect with others, and attending writing workshops together can build trust among teams. Storytelling Workshops are 2 hour, hosted virtual events where participants learn a narrative framework for communicating clearly and compellingly and practice crafting and sharing tales.
Learn more about Storytelling Workshops.
#get-well-soon is a digital version of a get well card. In this Slack channel, employees can send each other wishes for a speedy recovery and trade health tips. Posts can include condolences for non-health related matters like family member deaths, and can include general messages of encouragement, for instance, mantras or cute pictures of pets.
Since these conversations can include sensitive subject matters, employees should opt in to be included in this channel, and may signal their comfort levels for shout outs with a symbol– for instance, a green circle for “wish away!” a yellow circle for “ask privately first,” and a red circle for “I’m just here to give support.”
23. Online Journaling
Journalling is one of the most effective ways to track health habits. You can create an online journal system where employees can record their behaviors and feelings. This process can be as simple as filling out a Google Form once a week with details like steps taken, notes on wins or challenges, or rating statements on a scale of one to five. Over time, these notes can reveal patterns and triggers and help employees manage their behavior and make longer-lasting healthy changes.
24. Self-Help Zoom Book Club
Reading is one way to educate employees about health best practices. You can create a dedicated digital book club devoted to wellbeing books. For example, books on work life balance, meditation guides, and books that teach boundary-setting and relationship management skills. Each month, you can choose a work about a different self-improvement topic. Then, give members at least one month to read the book. At an appointed time, readers will join a Zoom meeting to discuss the ideas presented in the book.
You can also run a lite version of this activity by reading and discussing an article every week or a few times a month.
For starter reading recommendations, here are lists of books on habits and books on focus.
25. Remote Coworking Hours
Virtual workers are more prone to feelings of loneliness or isolation than their in-person counterparts, and these feelings can affect mental and physical health. Remote coworking hours can help battle the distance and foster camaraderie within online workplaces. At least once a month, plan an hour where teammates can meet up on a Zoom call to ask for advice on working topics, learn a new skill, or work together in silence.
26. Virtual Volunteering
Volunteering has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. Helping others helps folks to get out of their own heads, find a sense of purpose, and make meaningful connections with fellow volunteers and beneficiaries of the charity. There are several community service opportunities that are doable online, for instance, using an app to act as eyes to the visually impaired, writing letters or emails to soldiers, or coaching third world entrepreneurs on business skills. Having an online volunteering program can help employees feel more positive about themselves and the world around them.
Check out these online volunteer opportunities.
27. Self Care Quote of the Day
Self Care Quote of the Day is a quote-sharing activity that spreads wise words relating to health. These sayings can be uplifting messages, ideas about health, mental health mantras, or reflections on the importance of self care and healthy habits. The quotes can be shared on social media, at the opening or ending of company wide emails, or during meetings. The beauty of this exercise is that since the sharing is continuous, employees can receive words of encouragement on tough days without having to ask for help.
Check out more motivational quotes of the day.
28. Online Employee Resource Groups
Inclusion is a factor of wellbeing. Discrimination and exclusion can take a toll on employees’ health. Fortunately, employee resource groups can help make work a safer, fairer, and more welcoming place for all employees and can offer diverse employees the support and voice they need. These groups are employee-run committees that can provide a sense of community and help employees of certain identities advocate for themselves within the workplace.
To start an online ERG group, first recruit a few founding members to organize the group, and encourage participants to meet on Zoom at least once a month. You can also create email groups and Slack channels to help group members communicate more easily. If your organization is too small to sustain such a group on its own, then you can connect employees with industry organizations.
Here is a guide to employee resource group best practices.
29. In-Person Meetups
Some folks have trouble adjusting to work from home life. For more social individuals, virtual activities may never take the place of real life interactions. If your workplace is 100% remote, then you may not be able to give these employees the social stimulation they crave in the form of Zoom hangouts. However, you can plan occasional in-person gatherings where virtual teammates can meet in real life and spend time together offscreen. For example, team dinners, retreats, and meetups at coworking spaces.
Virtual wellness activities are an important part of online employee engagement, especially because it is more challenging to keep tabs on employees’ wellbeing in fully remote workplaces. By planning programming that puts health on the forefront, you can take proactive measures to prevent burnout and disengagement and keep your team members in good health and top shape so that they can fulfill their full potential.
Next, check out this list of books on diversity and inclusion, this list of virtual retreat ideas, and this list of remote work-life balance ideas.