6 tips to promote mental health and wellness for telecommuters
As many people are forced to work at home, full or part-time, and employers should take an interest in helping their employees take care of their mental health and wellness at home.
1 – Be encouraging and inclusive
Business leaders should bring out the best in their employees by nurturing their relationship with them. To return to “away from the eyes, away from the heart,” even unconsciously, is one of the biggest risks weighing on decision-makers in the current situation. Keep communication open with your team members via email, phone, live chat tools and video calls. You should also pay attention to how you are expressed.
Use a calm tone that shows you are the voice of reason, but also a very approachable leader who can reassure your employees and answer any questions or concerns they may have.
In the current situation, creating and enhancing an inclusive environment helps to install a sense of comfort and trust that will also facilitate exchanges on the issues and challenges of each long-term term.
The social element of face-to-face collaboration plays a key role when it comes to preserving the mental health of teleworkers. Don’t consider this a luxury during the pandemic. Managers should think about how to use digital tools to inject social and playful bonding into their team’s workweek. For example, you can create an online Friday coffee or cocktail party, virtual group games, themed costume contests, or celebrate anniversaries and achievements in a digital environment.
Creating a WhatsApp group or using video conferencing software can also be very useful to recreate the impression of a presence among colleagues. Thanks to all these techniques to maintain liaison and cohesion, your employees will not have the impression of having lost contact or having to go to zero on the relational level when it will come time to return to the office.
3 – Be adaptable and reconciled
Until now, the opportunity to work while at home was considered a measure of professional flexibility and adaptability that improves mental health and well-being. Today, companies must go further to ensure that all their employees have the flexibility they need to optimize the functioning of their new routines.
One of the main reasons you may need to offer a little more flexibility in the workweek is that many parents have to fake the entire day between home school and child care. By developing your employees’ schedules, including condensing their work week, you can help them eliminate some of the additional pressures induced by the current situation.
4 – Set non-professional goals
Playing a sport or other cherished activity is essential to preserving their mental health during this period of prolonged isolation. It may be time to temporarily add some alternative activities to the usual goals and priorities, not only to promote better psychological well-being, but also encourage a healthier life / private life balance in the long run.
Propose some physical exercises that your employees could do during the day: walking, cycling or even exercising on home bodybuilding devices. You can also allow employees time to pursue other personal goals, such as learning a language, practicing a musical instrument or artistic activities.
5 – Send a varied routine
As human beings are routine by nature, one of the main problems with 5-day-a-week telecommuting is that every day ends the same. To avoid this pitfall, try changing your management style to introduce variety into each team member’s work week. For example, it may be the perfect time to focus on professional development and versatility by giving employees the time to collaborate on new projects.
6 – Highlight company resources
When appropriate, remind your employees that they have access to certain resources (internal or external) as part of their job, such as psychologists or telephone assistance. If you don’t know exactly what resources are available, contact your human resources department who will help you identify the best assistance for your employees in the current circumstances.
Not all managers can provide employees with the psychological support they may need. In this case, leaders must be able to admit their limits and identify the alternative course of action to take. This approach can ensure that employees have the means to remain in good psychological health today and during the transition period back to the Office.
In conclusion, it’s not because your team is teleworking that you can’t take a practical approach to help them maintain morale at home. While it is always necessary to maintain a balance and a sense of autonomy, implementing some unique strategies during this period can preserve workforce productivity while preparing to bounce back well.
Unprecedented risks to employee mental health
Encouraging resilience, adaptability and collaboration must be top priorities if you want to avoid the potential negative consequences of a decline in mental health. A recent WHO report entitled ‘Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic’ highlights the specific potential negative impacts of isolation on our mental health, e.g. increased levels of stress, anxiety, anger and agitation. Not surprisingly, all of these factors can erode our ability to work effectively and manage daily pressures.
In the short term, psychological well-being is essential to professional performance, revealing that mental health problems already cost the global economy $1 trillion a year in lost productivity. By staying on top of your team’s psychological balance, you help your employees maintain morale, prepare them for “back to normal” as well as a possible peak workload when it’s time for the office. Here are the few steps you can take to promote the mental health of your teleworkers.
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