The Covid-19 pandemic created rapid, unprecedented change across the world. And one of the area’s where we’ve seen these changes stick is in the modern workplace.
With remote working an absolute necessity during the pandemic to keep business moving, workers across the world are saying goodbye to their commute and sticking with the WFH approach.
However, as with any big, unexpected change, there are always, inevitably, a few things that get overlooked when it comes to adapting to something new as a business.
In this case, it might be that you’re struggling with the best ways to support your remote workers, ensure they’re receiving all the help they need and make sure their mental health and wellbeing is looked after.
So, to help you support remote workers in your business and promote staff mental health, we’ve written up a few actionable points to take back to your HR meetings.
How has the Covid-19 Pandemic affected the modern workplace?
There are some key things about the Covid-19 pandemic that have changed the landscape of the workplace as we traditionally knew it.
One of the most significant changes has been the shift to remote work. Many companies have had to adapt quickly to allow their employees to work from home to maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of the virus.
And, with the rise of remote work, virtual communication tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack have become essential for businesses to stay connected and maintain productivity from remote locations.
As a result of this, employers have become more accommodating of flexible work schedules to help employees balance work and personal responsibilities during the pandemic.
And, with all of this, the pandemic has brought increased attention to mental health, and many businesses have started providing resources and support to help employees cope with stress and anxiety.
Without the ability to physically see your employees outside of meetings, whether that’s chatting at the water cooler or speaking over the desk, it can be difficult to find time to check in and talk about how they’re getting on.
As such, businesses need to adapt to their strategy towards mental health, to ensure they’re supporting remote workers as best they can.
How can you support remote workers in your organisation?
Supporting the mental health and overall wellbeing of remote workers is crucial for leaders and managers to maintain a healthy and productive workforce. If remote workers in your business are suffering unnoticed, you might see issues with retention, productivity and overall morale.
And, if you haven’t adapted your remote working policies to support staff mental health since the pandemic, then it’s time to have a chat with your HR colleagues and make sure you’re addressing the following:
Communication: Since it’s harder to get one-on-one time with your staff when they’re working from home, leaders and managers should maintain regular communication with remote workers to check in on their mental health and wellbeing. This can be through virtual one-on-one meetings or team meetings. You can even organise a ‘keeping in touch day’ so you regularly come into the office and check in on your teams.
Flexible work schedules: Consider allowing a little more flexibility in work schedules to help remote workers balance work and personal responsibilities. This can include flexible hours or the ability to take time off when needed. You might even consider looking into the four day work week, which has proven to be a great support to staff mental health.
Provide mental health resources: Look into providing specifically adapted resources for remote workers to access mental health support, such as counselling services or employee assistance programs.
Encourage self-care: You can encourage remote workers to prioritise self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or taking breaks throughout the day. As leaders, you can make this more accessible by demonstrating how seriously you take your own mental health and lead by example on this.
Foster social connections: Do your best to facilitate opportunities for remote workers to connect with each other, such as virtual team-building activities or social events. Or, as we said above, if it’s possible try to organise a keeping in touch day where you encourage staff to come into the office.
Be empathetic: As a leader, demonstrate that you’re empathetic and understanding of the unique challenges that come with remote work, such as isolation and increased workload. Work with your managers to develop a supportive and inclusive environment that values the mental health and wellbeing of all employees. Consider adopting an ‘open door’ policy where it’s normal for employees to call managers on a more ad-hoc basis, rather than waiting for virtual catch-ups.
By looking into the above practices for your business, you will be able to create a culture that supports remote workers with their mental health, and maintains the feeling of belonging that can fall by the wayside when lone working.
For more information on teams and navigating challenges like this, explore more content in the rest of our insights section.