Right now, we are in the midst of an unprecedented work-from-home period. Many people are working from their homes for the first time in their lives, which can have a significant toll on their mental health. Add in the people who live alone, as well as those directly affected by illness, and there are a tremendous amount of people struggling right now. Managers and entrepreneurs need to keep in mind that their employees’ mental health is a major priority at all times, but especially now. To help manage your employees’ mental status, try the following techniques.
Just a few months ago, it might have been acceptable for you to meet with your employees once every week or two. Managers must show empathy and be available. In today’s climate, it is essential to increase the amount of time spent checking in with each of your employees. Just a quick message two to three times per day can make a big difference. Recognize the impact of isolation and loneliness. Make sure to have a video chat at least once a week, but preferably twice or more. See how their work is going, but also check in on their feelings. Are they struggling without face-to-face interaction? Find out if there are any ways you can help alleviate their concerns, even just a bit.
Another way to improve employees’ mental health is to create an environment of openness. Be honest about your struggles, but also listen to theirs. Use this as a way for your whole team to bond and find comfort in solidarity. People will experience this time differently. However, we are all in this together, which makes openness about our hurdles much more meaningful. It is up to leaders to cultivate a culture of openness that creates a safe place for people to discuss hard issues. Encourage employees to get enough sleep, participate in regular physical activity, eat healthy, limit screen time, and relax and recharge.
A great way to help blow off some steam and find ways to be happy is to schedule some lighthearted events that your team can partake in over a conference call. For example, you could run a happy hour where you all sip drinks, eat good food, and chat about the week. You might also want to try a scavenger hunt of sorts, where each person on your team posts photos that meet different objectives. These can include a part of their home that was recently cleaned, a craft project they’ve been working on, or even a video how-to on how to make their favorite meal. Finally, you can also bond by playing games over the internet, such as The Jackbox Party Pack, or some video games.
Mental health concerns are rising right now, so it is crucial to take advantage of the tools we have available to check in on each other and make sure everyone is doing well. As a manager or entrepreneur, you must take these issues seriously and find ways to help alleviate the stress of your team members.
It’s important to encourage remote employees to make choices that help them stay healthy and engaged. When the home is also the workplace, it’s easy for the line between them to blur.
To create a healthy work-life balance, employees should:
Do work-related tasks during working hours, and leave household chores for later. For example, don’t stop working to unload the dishwasher.
Try to have regular starting and stopping times for work each day, including a regular lunch break.
When work is done for the day, shut down the computer, and stop checking emails, taking calls, and responding to work-related text messages.
If employees are required to work from home suddenly due to business disruptions or other unforeseen circumstances, they may be facing other challenges including: Childcare issues, Other family members at home during the workday, Inadequate or limited working space.
There are things you can do to create a positive team dynamic and prevent common challenges among a remote team.Set expectations: Your expectations of remote workers may need to be different than those of employees working in the office for a remote work arrangement to succeed.
When it comes to working with remote teams, the key is to allow flexible hours to maintain consistency. Although a concrete plan is a must, you should be open to adjusting strategies as needed. Whether your employees choose to put in their hours in the morning or evening shouldn’t matter, as long as the work gets completed and is of high quality.
There are three important long-term considerations for effective remote management:
Set up employees for success
Keep team members connected and adjust for differences
Sustain a blended staffing approach
These methods have helped me manage my staff in the remote environment created by COVID-19.