How to support the mental wellness of your remote employees?
In a paradigm change, attributing to social distancing and post-COVID demands, remote working has become the norm. Working from home demands a higher engagement and a whole new level of motivation in employees.
With increased isolation and an almost permanent remote working scenario, mental wellness has become the utmost priority. Managers are going beyond traditional ways to find the best practices that can maintain a healthy remote workforce.
Here are some proven tips to support and safeguard the mental wellness of your team when working remotely.
- Invest in ergonomics
Investing in a good neck and lumbar supporting chair, a bigger screen, noise-canceling headphones, or ergonomic devices is essential for remote working. Ergonomics help to avoid strain injuries such as body ache and back pains arising from being in the wrong posture for hours.
Businesses could help employees set up their work from home space by:
- Giving a one time allowance to their employees to buy furniture
- One time reimbursement on office equipment such as UPS for the wifi, printer/scanner
- Ship the employees’ office furniture (chair/table) to their homes.
Demonstrating your earnestness to enable your remote workforce to work in comfort shows that you care for their well being.
2. Tools to ease work:
Disparate tools confuse teams and create internal inefficiencies. Finding the right tool that fits your job plays a crucial role in any organization. Uniform usage of the same tool stack unifies teams and increases connectivity.
Tracking work and knowing what your team is doing, where their time is invested is crucial in remote working. Productivity Tools that can help them focus and perform better at home. Some of the necessary tools that ease remote work include communication, screen sharing apps, VPN tools, To-do list apps, Team chat Apps, Project management software, etc. Such applications uphold a sense of community in the employees and instill belongingness in the team or an organization.
Tip: Care should be taken to have a minimal number of apps and software that are uniformly used across the organization; this way, the employee will not get siloed in too many applications.
3. Stay healthy and safe:
Physical wellbeing like good food, water, and proper ventilation is needed for a healthy, happy life. These are some of the critical aspects of health and safety measures as a part of remote working culture. A positive work-life balance needs to happen daily, such as a structured time for breaks, be it for meals or wellness. This structuring can encourage employees to take personal time out.
Additionally, an informal chat or call made periodically to check the overall health (after a sick call, for instance, or prolonged absenteeism) helps managers build a bond with their team on the basis of shared trust. By maintaining such a rapport, managers can nurture the mental wellness of his/her team remotely.
Tip: A casual virtual coffee can let you know who your employee is beyond and outside of work!
4. Be watchful of your team.
Employees look up to their managers for cues and expectations. So it is imperative to remain empathetic to their needs and recognize that struggling remote workers will need help establishing a better presence, more specifically, the introverted ones. Keep an open eye on the quieter ones or mute spectators on virtual calls to understand why they are so.
Managers can cultivate healthy team dynamics only when they know their team well. They can determine if employees are struggling with something and work with them to overcome or combat the struggle. A recent Harvard study reveals empathy to increase team cohesiveness and performance.
Tip: Listen more, and speak after. Listening is one of the best ways to empathize with your team. It also helps you see the issue from the employee’s perspective and thereby build a personal bond.
5. Take timed Microbreaks
Micro breaks are short breaks that you take in between your work hours. Such microbreaks can be useful to cut the monotony of long work. They give the mind a needful reboot and fresh perspective to rely on when they pick up where they left off.
Managers can implement tracking techniques such as Pomodoro or OKR strategies in breaking goals and objectives to the team. With these techniques, you can encourage your team to take guilt-free short breaks.
Short breaks are beneficial in numerous ways:
- Increases their problem-solving abilities
- Reduces stress
- It brings in a sense of job satisfaction.
Tip: Implementing useful time management techniques avoids procrastination and combats the enormity of work.
6. Recharge and Unplug
A digital overload and fading of work-home separation hamper the mental ability to recharge and unplug. Thinning of personal life from professional life as are practically at home makes it challenging to separate office work from home and socializing.
Setting a clear separation between work and home can make it easier for employees to shut down better and encourage a healthier work-life balance. A daily reminder to wrap up official duties within a set time helps remote employees manage their work hours better.
Tip: One must not forget the importance of the little things in life that help you recharge, such as going for long walks, socializing with friends, working on a hobby, or spending more family time.
The bottom line is spending quality time with your team is crucial to support the mental wellness and up the morale of remote employees. Here are some tips to know your employees better:
- Scheduling one on one video conferences
- Conducting informal virtual luncheons or catch up sessions.
- Conducting Employee survey for their satisfaction
The tips listed here apply to managers as much as the team they are leading.
It goes to show that recognizing mental well-being and implementing measures to address concerns that remote workers can enable them to contribute to business goals. Having a structured approach to supporting remote employees’ mental wellness can allow them to deliver the desired results, despite the geographic barriers.