It would be difficult to overstate the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the world of work. According to a recent report, almost 70% of full-time workers in the US worked remotely at least some of the time, 84% of whom believe this arrangement makes them happier. This story is certainly consistent with our experience at Growth Gurus. Our latest employee survey showed that most colleagues are comfortable or very comfortable working in a remote setting, with the company scoring 9.1/10 on the enjoyability scale. Not bad at all!
It’s easy to see why remote working represents a positive development for today’s workers. As well as reducing the need for long and stressful commutes, working from home provides exciting opportunities for improving work-life balance – great news for those with kids and busy social lives!
However, there are a few downsides to remote arrangements – and we’re not just talking about dodgy Wi-Fi or embarrassing Zoom mishaps! Working from the comfort of your couch can blur the boundaries between your home life and your work life, leading to an “always-on” culture that encourages workers to check their inboxes all hours of the day. Lack of contact with colleagues can also take a significant toll on employee well-being and mental health, particularly for those who struggle to maintain an active social life outside of work. Finally, stressful environments such as noisy house-shares or family homes can impact productivity and leave workers feeling burnt out.
So, how can you support your colleagues’ mental health in the remote workplace and help them thrive in a work-from-home environment? We’ve put together some useful tips to help you get started:
1. Communicate regularly
Lack of communication can leave workers feeling neglected, lonely, and a little lost. As such, you must organize regular check-ins and encourage team members to reach out if they’re struggling with any issues. Contact time doesn’t have to be work-related. Why not schedule a regular Friday quiz session or organize Zoom coffee breaks for colleagues to chat and unwind? They’ll appreciate the opportunity to recharge after a hard day’s work and will enjoy getting to know each other better!
2. Discourage overwork and consider flexible working arrangements
One of the best ways to nurture happy and productive colleagues is to encourage them to take well-deserved breaks. Remind colleagues of their expected work hours and reiterate the need to rest and recharge when the clock strikes 5pm (or whenever the working day ends!). If a colleague seems to struggle with their workload, they may have too many responsibilities on their plate. Organizing a meeting to discuss these issues will ensure you’re not overloading employees with unfeasible demands and contributing to their stress levels.
Similarly, offering team members flexibility surrounding their hours of work could significantly improve their wellbeing and mental health in the remote workplace. Working parents, for example, could benefit from early start and finish times that allow them to pick the kids up from school. Giving colleagues the chance to work around medical appointments, house viewings, or other everyday tasks could also improve satisfaction levels and discourage workers from looking at more flexible vacancies elsewhere.
3. Don’t exclude remote colleagues from in-person meetings
If you run a hybrid office, it’s all too easy to overlook the needs of remote workers and exclude them from lively in-person meetings. While you’re unlikely to be doing this maliciously, it can leave remote workers feeling hurt and undervalued. To avoid this problem, make sure that remote colleagues have the opportunity to tune in to relevant in-person meetings via video link. Don’t forget – they may have some killer ideas you can’t afford to miss!
4. Organize hybrid or in-person social events
Even if your team works entirely remotely, it’s worth scheduling some in-person meet-ups if logistically possible. Gathering at a bowling alley or a classy restaurant a few times a year is sure to cement long-term friendships and enhance morale among colleagues.
If you’re unable to include everyone, you could also consider organizing a hybrid event that allows colleagues to tune in from anywhere in the world. Get creative, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
5. Offer rewards and lifestyle perks
Tons of organizations offer attractive reward schemes and lifestyle perks for employees. HeyTaco, for example, allows colleagues to celebrate each other’s hard work with points. When enough points are accrued, workers can claim incentives and prizes to enjoy both on and off the clock. Similarly, you could send team members physical gifts through the post every so often. Why not send them a voucher for a spa day or a hand-written note celebrating their achievements? Colleagues will appreciate the effort and feel like a more valued member of the company
6. Help colleagues adjust to video conferencing
Many people are still adjusting to video conferencing software such as Zoom and find online meetings tiring and anxiety-inducing. In the long term, this could cause productivity problems and detrimentally impact workers’ mental health. As such, it may be helpful to lay out some guidance about online meetings.
Tips could include:
- Don’t multitask during meetings: You’ll get confused and struggle to communicate with colleagues effectively!
- Turn off “self-view”: Who wants to look at themselves all day? It can be distracting and could cause all manner of body hang-ups!
- Don’t organize non-essential meetings, particularly if everyone’s calendars are already stuffed.
- Switch to phone calls occasionally
- Try to avoid overly long meetings
- Chat a little about non-work-related topics: You’ll appreciate the social interaction and feel less stressed about your workload!
Looking for new ways to grow your remote company?
We’ve got you covered!
So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide to adjusting to supporting your colleagues’ mental health in the remote workplace.
Of course, we understand that growing your brand in today’s ever-changing business environment can be stressful, regardless of how many measures you put in place to battle burnout. Fortunately, Growth Gurus is here to help you weather these confusing times! From supporting your growth strategy to re-branding, Growth Gurus are the digital marketing experts that can launch your growth. Get in touch today with us to chat about our services and discuss your needs.