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Remote Health and Wellness Survey Results—Benefits Employees Want

Virtual Vocations - Remote Health and Wellness Survey Results

How does remote work impact employee wellness? Which health and wellness benefits are most desired by modern professionals working from home? Virtual Vocations answers these questions and more with the release of our Remote Health and Wellness Survey results for 2020.

For convenience and sharability, the findings of our Remote Health and Wellness Survey results report for 2020 are available in a PDF.

This resource details key survey respondent data, from the more than 980 professionals who participated in our employee well-being survey, as well as an employer resource section containing health and wellness benefits options for their employees.

Click the infographic report cover image shown in this section, or follow the link ahead, to view and download our Remote Health and Wellness Survey PDF resource.

Remote Health and Wellness Survey Results

From July 15 – 22, 2020, Virtual Vocations surveyed our site members for opinions on health, wellness, and how those themes intersect with remote work. Throughout the week, 983 Virtual Vocations users responded to the Remote Health and Wellness Survey. Respondents represent a variety of professional backgrounds and employment statuses including the following:

  • Remote Workers (41% of respondents) actively working from home,
  • Remote Jobseekers (28%) looking for and applying to telecommute jobs,
  • Out of Work Professionals (21%) who were unemployed or had been laid off or furloughed, and
  • Onsite Workers (10%) employed in traditional labor settings.

The common thread uniting survey respondents is the value they place on remote work positively impacting employee health and wellness.

CEO’s Statement on the Remote Health and Wellness Survey

Laura Spawn, CEO Virtual Vocations

“The days of ping-pong tables, onsite coffee bars, and nap rooms are gone, and in their place are benefits that cater to a remote workforce. Modern professionals want flexibility in work and employers who value a holistic approach to employee well-being.

Our goal with the Remote Health and Wellness Survey was to determine the health and wellness benefits professionals want from their employers, then present employers with tips and resources on how employers can provide those benefits on a virtual basis.”

—Laura Spawn, CEO & Co-Founder, Virtual Vocations, Inc.

Further Reading from Virtual Vocations: A Holistic Approach to Remote Work Blueprint

Remote Health and Wellness Survey Results Key Findings

  • More than 68% of respondents cite working from home as the least stressful work arrangement; whereas, only 4.42% view working completely onsite in the same way.
  • 61.23% of respondents feel some stress or a manageable amount of stress during the day related to work and personal matters but the stress is not felt every day. Only 7.27% feel extremely stressed at the end of the day by trying to manage their work and personal lives.
  • The primary cause of stress among all respondents is not enough social contact with others. Additional causes of stress, listed in order from most to least stressful are as follows:
    • Managing personal relationships,
    • Career or professional relationships,
    • Health concerns, and
    • Financial concerns.
  • 77.64% of respondents feel that overall health, including mental and physical health, is extremely important to work success.
  • The three most popular wellness activities respondents engage in at least three times per week are the following:
    1. Cooking a meal,
    2. Reading non-work-related materials, and
    3. Exercising for at least 30 minutes.
  • 44.17% of respondents do a mix of both taking a full lunch break some days and working through my lunch on other days, indicating that respondents lean toward work-life integration rather than implementing firm boundaries between their professional and personal lives.
  • With so many professionals now required to work remotely, the virtual employment perks most appealing to new and aspiring remote workers are Lunch & Learn webinars and daily virtual coffee breaks.

Further Reading from Virtual Vocations: Virtual Team Building Activities — 9 Ideas to Inspire Remote Teams

Health and Wellness Benefits Employees Want

More than 42% of respondents consider access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes their most desired employer-provided wellness benefit; however, only 5.65% of respondents said their current employers offer access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes as a health and wellness benefit. Other popular, employee-preferred well-being perks include paid gym memberships or discounts, home meal delivery services or discounts, and virtual workout classes.

Among options like exercise classes, career mentoring, meditation sessions or access to meditation apps, and online support communities for employees, 72.09% of respondents said their employers offered none of these health and wellness benefits.

Interest in online wellness programs and activities was also found in the FlexJobs and Mental Health America Survey. This study of more than 800 employed respondents found that “People with flexible work options are also more interested in attending virtual wellness services from their workplace.” FlexJobs found that professionals with employment flexibility, like remote work, are interested in desktop yoga (35%) and virtual workout classes (40%).

Meeting the health needs of employees must be a priority for companies that hope to attract and retain top talent. As opportunities for remote work continue to grow, employers who want to incorporate well-being incentives into their employee benefits packages can begin with these resources for in-demand wellness perks.

Virtual Fitness Programs

Meal and Food Delivery

Online Communities

Further Reading from Virtual Vocations: Top 25 Employer Partners for Remote Work in 2020

Wellness, COVID-19, and Working Remotely

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, 51% of U.S. workers transitioned to working from home, according to Zapier. Remote work facilitated the career and life flexibility professionals needed to keep themselves and their families safe and financially stable. It was also a boon for employers, allowing them to keep their businesses operational amid the public health crisis.

Our Remote Health and Wellness Survey results proved the desire for flexible work arrangements will still be high after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

Post COVID-19, 64.71% of respondents want to work remotely from home every day. Meanwhile, only 4.73% of respondents want to work completely onsite. The majority of respondents favor work arrangements that incorporate some degree of remote work.

Virtual Vocations Expert Feature: COVID-19 Telecommuting Resources for Employees and Businesses

Virtual Vocations - Remote Health and Wellness Survey

Complete Remote Health and Wellness Survey Results

Employers can use the data from our Remote Health and Wellness Survey to shape their employee benefit plans, which can also improve employee engagement. Gallup has monitored U.S. employee engagement rates since 2000. From April 27 – May 17, 2020, employee engagement rose to a historic high of 38%. However, the continued COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide protests, and attempts to re-open businesses that were shuttered due to public health concerns led to a historic decline in engagement during June.

“Since employee engagement is highly related to many performance outcomes — even more so in tough times — this unprecedented drop in the percentage of engaged workers has significant potential performance consequences,” according to Jim Harter, Workplace Management & Well-Being Chief Scientist for Gallup. Providing health and wellness benefits to employees can boost employee well-being and happiness as well as strengthen employee engagement and, in turn, job performance.

The following sections of our report provide complete questions and answers for each professional group polled in our Remote Health and Wellness Survey. These results detail the most popular well-being perks employees want from their employers and how professionals view health and wellness in relation to remote work.

Virtual Vocations - Remote Health and Wellness Survey

Group 1: Remote Workers

40.90% of respondents comprise the Remote Workers group from the Remote Health and Wellness Survey. When asked, “Are you currently working from home?” these respondents answered, “Yes, I work from home.”

Please choose which stress level you identify with most each day.

  • 33.78% – I feel some stress at times related to my work and personal life, but not every day.
  • 33.24% – I experience a manageable amount of stress during my day.
  • 17.30% – I feel like my days are ending with me more stressed as time goes on.
  • 8.65% – I don’t feel stressed at all at the end of my day.
  • 7.03% – I feel extremely stressed at the end of the day with trying to manage work and my personal life.

Do you engage in any of the following activities a minimum of three times a week? (Select all that apply.)

  • Cooking a meal
  • Reading (non-work-related)
  • Exercise for 30 minutes
  • Gardening
  • Meditation
  • Breathing techniques
  • Yoga
  • Journaling

Does your current employer offer any of the following health or wellness benefits?

  • 67.30% – My employer does not offer any of these benefits
  • 17.30% – Online support community for yourself and co-workers
  • 7.03% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps
  • 5.40% – Career mentoring or coaching
  • 2.97% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes

Which of the following health and wellness benefits would you be most likely to use if offered?

  • 42.97% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes
  • 17.57% – Online support community for yourself and others who work remotely
  • 17.03% – Career mentoring or coaching to help you manage working remotely from home
  • 15.13% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps
  • 7.30% – Other

Rank the list below in the order of what causes you the most stress. (Rank from greatest to least.)

Answers are ranked from the greatest to the least causes of stress cited by professionals who were, at the time of the survey, working from home.

  1. Not enough social contact with others
  2. Managing personal relationships
  3. Career or professional relationships
  4. Health concerns
  5. Financial concerns

How do you spend your lunch break during the workday the majority of the time?

  • 41.62% – I do a mix of both taking a full lunch break some days and working through my lunch on other days.
  • 33.51% – I step away from my desk and use my full break time to eat and relax.
  • 24.87% – I work through lunch and tend to eat at my desk.

How important do you feel mental and physical health are to having a successful career?

  • 79.19% of professionals currently looking for a remote job feel that overall health is extremely important to be successful at work.

Which work location do you think will be the least stressful for you, post COVID-19?

  • 67.30% – Working remotely from home every day.
  • 20.54% – Working from home and onsite an equal amount of time.
  • 8.65% – I don’t have a preference that I think will help my stress.
  • 3.51% – Working completely onsite.
Virtual Vocations - Remote Health and Wellness Survey

Group 2: Remote Jobseekers

27.87% of respondents comprise the Remote Jobseekers group from the Remote Health and Wellness Survey. When asked, “Are you currently working from home?” these respondents answered, “I’m currently looking for a remote position.”

Please choose which stress level you identify with most each day.

  • 32.28% – I experience a manageable amount of stress during my day.
  • 29.53% – I feel some stress at times related to my work and personal life, but not every day.
  • 17.32% – I feel like my days are ending with me more stressed as time goes on.
  • 13.39% – I don’t feel stressed at all most days.
  • 7.48% – I feel extremely stressed at the end of the day with trying to manage work and my personal life.

Do you engage in any of the following activities a minimum of three times a week? (Select all that apply.)

Answers are ranked from the most to the least popular activities cited by professionals who were looking for a remote job.

  1. Cooking a meal
  2. Reading (non-work-related)
  3. Exercise for 30 minutes
  4. Gardening
  5. Breathing techniques
  6. Meditation
  7. Yoga
  8. Journaling

If a future employer offered any of the following health or wellness benefits, which would you most likely take advantage of?

  • 39.76% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes
  • 24.41% – Career mentoring or coaching to help you learn to manage working remotely
  • 20.47% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps
  • 11.03% – Online support community for yourself and co-workers
  • 4.33% – Other

Rank the list below in the order of what causes you the most stress. (Rank from greatest to least.)

Answers are ranked from the greatest to the least causes of stress cited by professionals who were, at the time of the survey, searching for a remote position.

  1. Not enough social contact with others
  2. Managing personal relationships
  3. Career or professional relationships
  4. Health concerns
  5. Financial concerns

If you are currently seeking employment, how much time are you spending on a daily basis looking for and applying to positions?

  • 42.91% – 2-3 hours per day
  • 37.80% – 1 hour or less a day
  • 16.93% – 4+ hours a day
  • 2.36% – I am not spending any time on job seeking at the moment

With so many people being required to work remotely, would any of these benefits be appealing to you if you worked from home? (Select all that apply.)

Answers are ranked from the most to the least popular remote work benefits cited by professionals who were looking for a telecommuting job.

  1. Monthly Lunch & Learn webinars
  2. Daily virtual “coffee” breaks
  3. Weekly virtual “happy hour” on Friday afternoons
  4. Monthly snack box subscription
  5. Non-video based interactions like group games, chess membership, fitness contest apps, etc.

Which scenario do you think will be the least stressful for you in a new job?

  • 76.77% – Working remotely from home every day.
  • 11.42% – Working from home and onsite an equal amount of time.
  • 9.45% – I don’t have a preference that I think will help my stress.
  • 2.36% – Working completely onsite.

How important do you feel mental and physical health are to having a successful career?

  • 79.53% of professionals currently looking for a remote job feel that overall health is extremely important to be successful at work.

Does your current employer offer any of the following health or wellness benefits?

  • 78.97% – My employer does not offer any of these benefits.
  • 7.73% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes.
  • 4.72% – Career mentoring or coaching.
  • 4.29% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps.
  • 4.29% – Online support community for yourself and co-workers.

Which of the following health and wellness benefits would you be most likely to use if offered?

Answers are ranked from the most to the least popular health and wellness benefits cited by professionals who were searching for a remote position.

  • 33.48% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes
  • 27.04% – Career mentoring or coaching to help you manage working remotely from home
  • 19.31% – Online support community for yourself and others who work remotely
  • 16.74% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps
  • 3.43% – Other

How do you spend your lunch break during the workday the majority of the time?

  • 48.93% – I do a mix of both taking a full lunch break some days and working through my lunch on other days.
  • 27.04% – I step away from my desk and use my full break time to eat and relax.
  • 24.03% – I work through lunch and tend to eat at my desk.

Which work location do you think will be the least stressful for you, post COVID-19?

  • 74.68% – Working remotely from home every day.
  • 12.45% – Working from home and onsite an equal amount of time.
  • 10.30% – I don’t have a preference that I think will help my stress.
  • 2.57% – Working completely onsite.
Virtual Vocations - Remote Health and Wellness Survey

Group 3: Out of Work Professionals

21.06% of respondents comprise the Out of Work Professionals group from the Remote Health and Wellness Survey. When asked, “Are you currently working from home?” these respondents answered, “I’m currently laid off, furloughed or unemployed.”

Please choose which stress level you identify with most each day.

  • 35.18% – I feel like my days are ending with me more stressed as time goes on.
  • 30.65% – I experience a manageable amount of stress during my day.
  • 16.58% – I feel some stress at times related to my work and personal life, but not every day.
  • 11.06% – I don’t feel stressed at all most days.
  • 6.53% – I feel extremely stressed at the end of the day with trying to manage work and my personal life.

Do you engage in any of the following activities a minimum of three times a week? (Select all that apply.)

Answers are ranked from the most to the least popular activities cited by professionals who were, at the time of the survey, laid off, furloughed, or unemployed.

  1. Cooking a meal
  2. Reading (non-work-related)
  3. Exercise for 30 minutes
  4. Gardening
  5. Breathing techniques
  6. Meditation
  7. Yoga
  8. Journaling

If a future employer offered any of the following health or wellness benefits, which would you most likely take advantage of?

  • 41.21% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes
  • 27.13% – Career mentoring or coaching to help you learn to manage working remotely
  • 14.07% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps
  • 11.06% – Online support community for yourself and co-workers
  • 6.53% – Other

Rank the list below in the order of what causes you the most stress. (Rank from greatest to least.)

Answers are ranked from the greatest to the least causes of stress cited by professionals who were, at the time of the survey, laid off, furloughed, or unemployed.

  1. Not enough social contact with others
  2. Managing personal relationships
  3. Career or professional relationships
  4. Health concerns
  5. Financial concerns

If you are currently seeking employment, how much time are you spending on a daily basis looking for and applying to positions?

  • 46.23% – 2-3 hours per day
  • 31.15% – 4+ hours a day
  • 15.58% – 1 hour or less a day
  • 7.04% – I am not spending any time on job seeking at the moment

With so many people being required to work remotely, would any of these benefits be appealing to you if you worked from home? (Select all that apply.)

Answers are ranked from the most to the least preferred work-at-home benefits cited by professionals who were, at the time of the survey, laid off, furloughed, or unemployed.

  1. Monthly Lunch & Learn webinars
  2. Daily virtual “coffee” breaks
  3. Monthly snack box subscription
  4. Weekly virtual “happy hour” on Friday afternoons
  5. Non-video based interactions like group games, chess membership, fitness contest, etc.

Which scenario do you think will be the least stressful for you in a new job?

  • 58.29% – Working remotely from home every day.
  • 23.11% – Working from home and onsite an equal amount of time.
  • 11.56% – I don’t have a preference that I think will help my stress.
  • 7.04% – Working completely onsite.

How important do you feel mental and physical health are to having a successful career?

  • 75.38% of professionals laid off, furloughed, or unemployed feel that overall health is extremely important to be successful at work.

Does your current employer offer any of the following health or wellness benefits?

  • 79.89% – My employer does not offer any of these benefits
  • 7.82% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise class
  • 5.59% – Online support community for yourself and co-workers
  • 5.03% – Career mentoring or coaching
  • 1.67% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps

Which of the following health and wellness benefits would you be most likely to use if offered?

  • 37.43% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes
  • 29.61% – Career mentoring or coaching to help you manage working remotely from home
  • 16.76% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps
  • 11.17% – Online support community for yourself and others who work remotely
  • 5.03% – Other

How do you spend your lunch break during the workday the majority of the time?

  • 45.26% – I do a mix of both taking a full lunch break some days and working through my lunch on other days.
  • 27.37% – I work through lunch and tend to eat at my desk.
  • 27.37% – I step away from my desk and use my full break time to eat and relax.

Which work location do you think will be the least stressful for you, post COVID-19?

  • 59.78% – Working remotely from home every day.
  • 26.25% – Working from home and onsite an equal amount of time.
  • 8.94% – I don’t have a preference that I think will help my stress.
  • 5.03% – Working completely onsite.
Virtual Vocations - Remote Health and Wellness Survey

Group 4: Onsite Workers

10.17% of respondents comprise the Onsite Professionals group from the Remote Health and Wellness Survey. When asked, “Are you currently working from home?” these respondents answered, “No, I am working onsite.”

Please choose which stress level you identify with most each day.

  • 35.29% – I feel some stress at times related to my work and personal life, but not every day.
  • 31.77% – I experience a manageable amount of stress during my day.
  • 16.47% – I feel like my days are ending with me more stressed as time goes on.
  • 9.41% – I feel extremely stressed at the end of the day with trying to manage work and my personal life.
  • 7.06% – I don’t feel stressed at all at the end of my day.

Do you engage in any of the following activities a minimum of three times a week? (Select all that apply.)

Answers are ranked from the most to the least popular activities cited by professionals who work onsite.

  1. Exercise for 30 minutes
  2. Cooking a meal
  3. Reading (non-work-related)
  4. Gardening
  5. Breathing techniques
  6. Yoga
  7. Meditation
  8. Journaling

Does your current employer offer any of the following health or wellness benefits?

  • 57.64% – My employer does not offer any of these benefits.
  • 21.18% – Online support community for yourself and co-workers.
  • 8.24% – Career mentoring or coaching.
  • 7.06% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise class.
  • 5.88% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps.

Which of the following health and wellness benefits would you be most likely to use if offered? 

  • 50.59% – Access to yoga, Pilates, or other exercise classes
  • 16.47% – Online support community for yourself and others who work remotely
  • 15.29% – Career mentoring or coaching to help you manage working remotely from home
  • 14.12% – Group or individual meditation sessions or access to apps
  • 3.53% – Other

Rank the list below in the order of what causes you the most stress. (Rank from greatest to least.)

Answers are ranked from the greatest to the least causes of stress cited by professionals who work onsite.

  1. Not enough social contact with others
  2. Managing personal relationships
  3. Career or professional relationships
  4. Health concerns
  5. Financial concerns

How do you spend your lunch break during the workday the majority of the time?

  • 40.00% – I do a mix of both taking a full lunch break some days and working through my lunch on other days.
  • 32.94% – I step away from my desk and use my full break time to eat and relax.
  • 27.06% – I work through lunch and tend to eat at my desk.

How important do you feel mental and physical health are to having a successful career?

  • 70.59% of professionals working onsite feel that overall health is extremely important to be successful at work.

Which work location do you think will be the least stressful for you, post COVID-19?

  • 36.47% – Working remotely from home every day.
  • 31.77% – Working from home and onsite an equal amount of time.
  • 16.47% – I don’t have a preference that I think will help my stress.
  • 15.29% – Working completely onsite.

Contact Information for the Remote Health and Wellness Survey Results Report

Inquiries about the Virtual Vocations Remote Health and Wellness Survey results report can be made to Michelle Rawlings, Public Relations Specialist, at michelle (at) virtualvocations (dot) com or via phone at 1-800-379-5092 EXT. 703.

Is employee wellness a priority for your remote-enabled business? Do you plan to use our Remote Health and Wellness Survey data to inform the health and wellness benefits you offer? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts on this special and find more remote work content and conversations.

Image credits: Canva; Virtual Vocations images and PDFs designed by Kimberly Back


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About Kimberly Back 803 Articles
Kimberly Back is the Senior Job Data Content Producer at Virtual Vocations and has been a member of the Virtual Vocations team since 2012. She brings to the role more than a decade of experience in writing, editing, content management, and graphic design. She is an honors graduate of Morehead State University and works remotely from Kentucky.