While businesses are beginning to reopen across all industries, many employees will continue to be furloughed or working from home. For many workforces, the new norm will include some or all work-from-home hours. Active Wellness is very familiar with communicating remotely with our employees. Our Headquarters team (Operations, Human Resources, Technology, Accounting and Marketing) have worked from home for over 6 years, supporting our 1,200 employees. During this time and always, we remain committed to engaging, supporting and communicating with our employees while in a remote setting. If you have furloughed employees, it’s important to follow all protocols around interactions with your team while they are furloughed. Here are a few ways Active is staying engaged with employees during this time.
Communicate to Employees through Personal Email
Since furloughed employees aren’t checking work emails, we send all employee communications to their personal email addresses so they have the opportunity to stay informed and connected with Active during this time apart. All communication is focused on the distribution of information, not the soliciting of responses or requiring any “work” to be completed during the furlough period. For example, we send a weekly newsletter every Monday morning to our team with company news, employee shout-outs, fitness industry news, training and development opportunities, employee discounts on vendor offerings, healthy life tips and more. We have paused all employee surveys and anything requiring an action item.
Provide Support for HR Questions
Our Human Resources team is readily available to answer employee questions regarding the submission of unemployment insurance (UI) claims. Many of our employees have never submitted an unemployment claim before. They have real-time questions that need answers, and we recognize the importance of timely responses to these on-demand questions. Matching our employees’ sense of urgency is key to ensuring that they feel supported during times of uncertainty.
Provide an Employee Assistance Program
At Active, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than just site closures. The pandemic has created a ripple effect that has impacted all aspects of our employees’ lives. Sheltering at home can evoke a feeling of isolation that comes with being away from the workplace. Add the stress of operating in a state of fear of the unknown, the downturn of the market, family needs and/or the new challenge of “distance learning” (aka homeschooling) children, and employees will likely suffer from increased mental strain and/or other health complications. We’ve partnered with The Hartford Insurance to offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that connects our employees to counseling and other support resources, and continue to promote this service to all employees during this time. The EAP is an important and convenient resource that can help employees move through this turbulent emotional time.
Create an Employee Facebook Group
We recently created a Team Active Wellness Facebook Group for all employees to encourage more engagement and connection. This private group is set up for our team to share best practices, ask questions and cheer one another along. We’ll be hosting happy hour Facebook Live sessions from some of our Executive Team so our team can virtually connect with our leaders during this time.
Provide Healthy Support Resources
When COVID-19 impacted our communities and we began closing our clubs, our Operations and Marketing team hit the ground running by developing programs and tools to support our members and employees in staying healthy during this time from home. We’ve been able to deliver virtual classes, at-home workouts, steps challenges, a lifestyle change program, supplements, apparel and portable resistance training kit to support home workouts.
Our internal communication approach has always been to be supportive and informative with an open door policy. During this time, we’ve added another level of sensitivity knowing that while work is important, our team and their families’ health and safety are number one.
Written by: Meredith DePersia | Vice President of Human Resources
As the Vice President of Human Resources, Meredith leads a passionate team of HR professionals responsible for employee relations, benefits, recruitment, and compliance. She works primarily from home so emails, phone calls and virtual meetings have been key methods of communication to her for many years now. In the absence of being able to meet with her team, she has increased virtual meetings to three times a week to maintain a feeling of connection during these difficult times.