2020 has literally been a year from hell. From natural calamities to nuclear blasts, and most importantly, the outbreak of COVID 19. The Coronavirus outbreak has been one of the deadliest pandemics the world has seen in over a decade. With no proven vaccine developed yet, we are navigating through the unchartered waters with the virus. In response to the Coronavirus, companies and organizations around the globe have shifted to a remote workforce. Remote work is implemented to abide by the social distancing norms. As beneficial as it seems for employees to work remotely, it comes with some gray areas too. The disruption and uncertainties caused due to corona have lead to anxiety and stress amidst many remote employees. So, in this article, we are going to talk about how you can manage and nourish the mental health of your remote employees.
COVID 19 And Mental Health
Social distancing norms implemented for the prevention of Coronavirus have deprived individuals from interacting with each other face to face. So, from huge companies like Google, and Facebook, to a budding startup like us, everyone is making the switch to remote work. As a result, many of us are working remotely, isolated from our co-workers. For employers, allowing employees to work remotely is beneficial for the employee’s safety. However, managing a remote team can be full of challenges. One of the greatest challenges is supporting the mental health of your employees.
This time is full of uncertainties and, indeed, uncertainties propagate anxiety. Firstly, many professionals are working remotely for the first time. This comes with its own challenges and pressures. Secondly, there is a constant fear about the safety of their loved ones and the future of their lives. Thirdly, remote work has disrupted the whole routine of employees. In conclusion, all these factors definitely take a toll on the mental health of remote employees. So, here are some tips that you need to follow to nourish the mental health of your remote employees.
Tips To Nourish The Mental Health Of Your Remote Employees
Encourage Work-Life Balance
One of the greatest perks of remote work is that you get to work from the comfort of your home. As great as that seem, however, it can be pretty challenging for some remote employees. Though remote work comes with a lot of flexibility, it doesn’t seem to improve the work-life balance. With work present right there at home all the time, escaping work becomes a lot more tricky. In simple words, remote work can simply send some workers into ‘workaholic’ mode. They might find it very difficult to achieve a balanced work-life schedule. So, this inability to unplug themselves from work can have a direct impact on the mental health of remote workers. So, as a manager, you need to encourage your remote workers to have a little “off-time” for themselves. They shouldn’t work or check any work-related stuff during this time. You can also set a specific time schedule for work and not work during any other time. This will restore their work-life balance and have some time for themselves and their loved ones.
Emphasize On Communication
Remote employees’ mental health suffers the most because they may feel isolated and disconnected from the rest of the world. Going days without hearing anything from their teammates or superiors can make them restless. So, managers need to communicate regularly with their remote workers. You need to check in regularly with your remote staff. You can start your day with a daily check-in. It doesn’t have to be a call always, it can be a simple good morning message. In this way, they will feel included in your remote committee. You also need to remind them that although your remote workers are physically alone, that doesn’t mean they don’t have anyone. Apart from interactions related to work, encourage your remote employees to foster social connections too. Encourage them to socialize virtually and share their problems.
Flexibility in working benefits everyone. Employees often choose to work remotely for the perk of work flexibility. They may have priorities like childcare or eldercare. So, work flexibility is their main aim while working remotely. Also, working according to their own time gives them the freedom to address their mental and physical health as and when needed. So, make sure you shift your focus on goals achieved rather than hours completed. Encourage your employees to work flexibly so that they can fulfill all their other priorities equally.
Encourage Taking Breaks
Work from home may mean that your remote employees whole day doing nothing but work. This also means that potentially they may fall into unhealthy habits. This may take a toll on their physical health, focus, and motivation. So, to avoid this, encourage your employees to get up from their desks or workspace and take frequent breaks. A small 10 minutes break every now and then isn’t too much to ask. They can maybe set alarms on equal time intervals to take breaks. Taking breaks can help your employees to stay fit and refresh their minds.
Provide Access To Mental Health Resources
We are all aware that there is still a stigma around mental health around the globe. Mental health is not given as much importance as it is given to physical health. Many people who are suffering from mental issues or have any symptoms, don’t even want to talk about them to anyone. Or it may also be the case that remote employees may not even know where to start. In either case, as a manager, it is your responsibility to provide access to some kind of anonymous mental health resources that they can access anytime. A safe place where they can openly talk about their feelings. This way, they can let their feelings and insecurities out and improvements their mental health.