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Lately, there’s been a lot to worry about. For business owners, a lot has changed. As one example, remote working, which had previously been only a steadily growing trend, is now the norm.
Many of us who had no remote employees before are now figuring out what it means to have a remote workforce. As a child and adult psychiatrist, I know that one area many might be finding especially difficult to navigate is the mental health of employees working from home.
Even far away, the mental health of employees matters.
The well-being of your employees should absolutely remain a priority if your company is operating remotely. When their health suffers in any way, this can affect not only their personal life, but also their ability to do their job.
While for many remote work is a dream come true and eliminating the commute helps reduces some of their stress, this change can also come with its downsides. When working at home and away from all the casual conversation of the office, it can be easy to feel on your own and grow lonely. The social isolation itself can be harmful, so you’ll want to ensure your workforce is feeling supported and connected.
What You Can Do For Your Team
Remote work doesn’t have to be a detriment to you, your company or your employees. By reaching out with support and ways to help, you can make sure everyone is adjusting well to any new changes. With a few simple strategies, you can be there for the mental well-being of all your employees.
Communicate available resources. First of all, make sure every employee knows the ways in which you can be there for them. Mental health can be challenging to talk about, so you don’t want to put it on them to have to come to you when something is going on. Make it easy for your remote employees to find what they need by sending out an email and putting the information in one easily accessible place. Let them know which mental health benefits your company offers, what your employee assistance program provides and any other resources that might be available.
Be understanding. Many of your employees might really need this support without you even knowing it. It’s important to be understanding of any employee who chooses to approach you with a mental health concern, but you should also understand that they might not feel comfortable opening up to you. Even if it seems like everyone’s doing well, all employees should be encouraged to take care of themselves. Remote employees should feel comfortable taking breaks when they need them and doing whatever else they need to feel their best.
Stay in touch. A big contributor to plummeting mental well-being when working from home is the lack of connection that is experienced. You don’t have many people to talk to when it’s just you in your home office, so remote employees might get pretty lonely. As a manager, you can help make sure nobody feels alone.
While you can’t pop over for a chat as easily as in the office, technology makes it easy to stay in touch. To ensure nobody feels forgotten, you might set up recurring meetings to talk privately or in a group. Don’t let communication stop at formal meetings, though. With a group chat available, co-workers can more easily stay in touch with one another and bond as a team.
Set motivating goals. Together, everyone can work to make sure mental health is prioritized by the team. You can motivate them to choose this as the priority with the goals that you set. Putting excessive pressure to get tasks done quickly might encourage remote employees to overwork themselves and let their own well-being fall to the wayside. Instead, you might actually incentivize tasks related to self-care. Set up an exercise challenge to get co-workers competing over activities that are to their own benefit. Of course, you should reward good work, but positive mental health can be just as important.
A Positive Workforce
In the end, looking out for the well-being of your remote employees is one of the best things you could do for the company. If you can ensure the well-being of each individual, the well-being of the business itself will also improve.