From establishing new means of communication, to encouraging employees to unplug when needed, here's how you can help keep your workforce in the pink of (mental) health - whether in a pandemic, or in everyday life.
With the introduction of remote working in recent years, adapting has certainly brought about various psychological challenges for employees - loneliness, anxiety, stress, pressure, and depression.
As an example, in a recent survey in the UK, involving 1,000 employees from a range of professional sectors, over one in five (21%) felt working from home has impacted their mental health.
Ultimately, working from home has led to feelings of loneliness and isolation — with 41% of employees stating they missed socialising with colleagues most about working in the office.
To add on, with the lines between work and home blurring, employees may find it difficult to 'unplug' from work when it is so easily accessible.
To help employees cope, here are some ways HR and employers can tackle remote working, courtesy of Ezra:
1. Prioritise mental health
While generally overlooked, it is important for employers to look out for the team's mental wellbeing. It is highly encouraged for employers to be proactive about their approach to mental wellbeing. As a result, employees will be happier, more productive, and more likely to continue working with the company.
2. Establish new means of communication
Communication is essential to connection. Hearing from employees is key, especially if they’re relatively new to remote working as a whole. Utilise new channels of communication such as instant messaging, or checking in on a weekly basis by emailing the team to give them an update on projects and expectations.
Encourage staff to freely use these channels to come to employers with any questions, concerns, or even a lack of direction.
3. Consider individual needs
When an employee's work life melds with their home life, there are likely going to be various unique circumstances that arise as a result - parents may need to spend more time at home tutoring their children and preparing them for exams, or they might need extra help with home responsibilities and commitments.
As such, HR teams and employers should always consider the individual needs of staff and adjust accordingly but within reason.
For more on mental health, click here.
Employees are also encouraged to take steps to take charge of their mental health:
1. Stick to a schedule
Having a predictable routine is much easier on your mental health and ensures that staff do not overwork themselves past their schedule.
2. Take regular breaks
For some employees, the comfort of working from home makes it easy to forget to take a break. Taking regular breaks will help improve mental wellbeing.
3. Create a comfortable work environment
A comfortable work environment will help staff stay focused. Comfortable chairs, ensuring desks are organised and have plenty of storage, and making sure computers or laptops are at a comfortable height are little things that can help working from home be more comfortable.
4. Remove distractions
Distractions can prolong work hours and make it hard to stay focused.
5. Recognise and understand limits
Employees should not push themselves further than they normally would. Understand limits and sticking to a schedule helps to avoid overworking.
6. Unplug when it is time
It is important to unplug from work if employees find themselves staying up late to do last-minute tasks. Perhaps literally unplugging by turning off the laptop and ignoring any calls or messages may help.
7. Communicate and engage
Especially when isolated at home, it is important to remember to still communicate and engage with people in order to further careers and be productive. Use messaging programs, video calls, and regular calls to stay in touch with colleagues and communicate effectively with senior managers.
8. Consider co-working spaces
Some employees may find that co-working spaces encourage them to be more productive. Working together may bring back that sense of productivity or help avoid distractions. Though, of course, comply with any safe distancing measures and be mindful of any lockdown situations in the area.
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