This topic will hit home with many of us, because over the last couple of weeks we have had the rug swept from under us in regards to our working arrangements. Don’t get me wrong, most companies are prepared for staff to work remotely, in fact in 2018 a Census conducted on behalf of Indeed recorded that 68% of companies allowed their staff to work remotely, and that number has surely risen over the preceding 18 months. Companies are quick to recognise the benefits of staff being able to work remotely –such as increased productivity, lower overheads and the same Census found that employee turnover decreased by a whopping 57% in roving workplaces.
In a normal functioning society, staff work remotely a couple of days per week on or occasion. In today’s society, where most businesses have had to revert to a work from home arrangement, the most important issue becomes emotional intelligence. Everyone is thrown into a scenario where they are now isolated for long periods, so how do you manage your staff mental health under these unprecedented conditions?
Organisations with a vested interest in their staff’s well-being should quite simply communicate that according to The Happiness Institute. Seems so simple, yet in the depths of crisis management many organisations can overlook this, as operational needs take over.
Constant communication about employee’s health, well-being and understanding their challenges in coping with working remotely followed up with meaningful action is key. This is the perfect time to prioritise calls over emails, introduce Skype or Zoom meetings and use document-sharing platforms to keep employees in the loop. The more connected the team feels, the easier this transition will be.
Setting boundaries when working from home is important. The Happiness Institute advises that losing routine or feeling that your work life balance is totally out of whack can affect mental health, and suggest that employees practise a few simple strategies. These are:
- Set up a home office – so that you can equally be productive and be able to pack away when the workday is over.
- Stick as closely as possible to regular work hours including lunch breaks. If possible, take a short walk or get some fresh air to reset.
- Dress for work. Doesn’t mean you need to grab out the suit and tie, but changing into comfortable day clothes helps your mind switch into work mode, and also makes you look more professional on Zoom meetings.
- Keep in touch with your Manager. This will help you stay focused, set goals and celebrate achievements.
- Apps such as Mindfulness of Headspace can help with feeling overwhelmed or general Mental Health.
Making staff well-being a priority is the mark of strong leadership in any firm. In simple terms, the message that we care about you as a person should be sent as often and appropriately as possible.