The wide scale move to remote working hasn’t just meant that we’re missing out on time in the office, for some it has also resulted in the loss of a support system. Working from home, while a privilege that many have wished for before the pandemic, comes with its own set of challenges and, when you add the uncertainty and worry that comes with living in these times into the mix too, it’s clear that there is a real need for employers to be proactive about offering mental and wellbeing support to those working remotely.
While some of the traditional support structures and systems that you have available in the office may well be out of bounds for the time being, it is possible to pivot and implement new ways to look out for your team working remotely. Here are a few easy suggestions to get you started:
- Create a fixed schedule of one-to-one discussions
It’s very easy to feel isolated when working remotely, especially for those who usually thrive on interaction and collaboration with co-workers. Another disadvantage for those working apart from colleagues is that it can be harder to raise any concerns or worries over email or messenger.
Try scheduling a fixed weekly call with each member of the team to check in with them, ensure they’re feeling happy with their workload and overall seem positive, content and confident. Be clear that the call doesn’t have to focus just on work and that you’re open to hear any worries, concerns or answer any questions.
- Provide a wellness app subscription
Some wellness apps such as Headspace and Calm offer corporate pricing models. This allows you to give access to your whole team at a preferential rate. Apps like these come loaded with tools and exercises, so they can be a great addition to your wellness program, especially for remote workers as they require no physical infrastructure or close contact with other people to get the most from them. Try asking your team if they use any apps currently or run an informal survey to get their opinion on which app they’d benefit the most from.
- Be clear that work shouldn’t run into down time
The boundaries between work and home are inevitably blurred at the moment. One of the most noticeable effects of this is that hours are creeping up – the Harvard Business Review reports that the average American for example has seen their workday increase by a huge 40% or, three extra hours per day, and it’s a similar story elsewhere.
One very simple step that you can take is to make it clear more hours aren’t expected. Check that you’re not being overly ambitious with your to dos and be vocal about the importance of taking regular breaks, stepping away from the screen and not working late into the night.
Supporting those workers who are now checking in from home can pose more of a challenge, especially for those businesses who have been forced to quickly change the manner of work in the face of coronavirus, but it can be done. Change your mindset and consider how you can harness technology to help you stay connected and offer services such as meditation apps to your team.
Also published on Medium.