As an employer it’s not only your responsibility to support the mental health of your staff, but it’s also becoming increasingly expected by workers. This has been made even more crucial by the pandemic, with employees finding themselves removed from the workplace and their colleagues, often alone and in an alien work environment. Here, we look at 7 ways you can support the mental wellbeing of your team in this situation, to the benefit of both your people and your organization.
1. Provide a sense of security, and offer to help with any logistics
For example how will staff get their corporate email? What are the hours they can contact you for urgent queries? Where should work be done in accordance with company policies or requirements?
2. Be mindful of how you communicate
Remote staff need to feel they are in the loop as much as anyone else, so be conscientious about how and when you’re checking in with them (and if it’s appropriate). It might also make sense to have a clear protocol on how someone can notify others of their intentions or needs.
3. Ask how your team is coping at regular intervals
There’s no one size fits all solution here, some people will find themselves happy just taking on tasks remotely, while others need more support. What works best as a strategy for one individual may not work for another.
4. Encourage employees to take time away from their desk
It may sound counterintuitive, but remote working is not always an 24/365 affair. Ensure you’re encouraging staff to take breaks, stand up and ensure they are taking their holidays, even if they can’t travel abroad, so that they can have sustained down time when they don’t have to work, answer calls or respond to emails.
5. Offer training courses to support self-worth and value
This could include leadership skills development, professional qualifications or other knowledge transfer activities like conferences or seminars where workers can attend physically. If travel is required, then offer reimbursement for expenses incurred and explore options such as video conferencing facilities which reduce costs associated with participation. Specifically, offer training for remote workers on how they can best support their own mental health, both in their personal life and in work situations.
6. Allow flexibility around how people work
Whilst some people thrive on uninterrupted periods of work time, others will want to take regular breaks and work on their terms. Have a think if your people really need to work set hours, or can they be trusted to work flexibly as long as the job is done by deadline. Enable your managers to find out the specific needs of the individuals in their teams, discovering who needs quiet moments or a change in atmosphere during the day, and empower them to make it happen.
7. Encourage your employees to take up physical activities
Be proactive about supporting your employee’s physical health and this will, in-turn, have a positive impact on their mental health. Even if you only suggest something once a week, enabling your staff to feel comfortable stepping away from their desk to stand, walk, work out, or get out into nature, can make all the difference to how someone feels and how they perform.
Supporting wellbeing is win-win
So there you have it, seven simple but big impact ways a company can support the mental wellbeing of its employees. By implementing these or any of your own approaches, you’ll not only fulfil your responsibilities as an employer, but also strengthen the relationship between employer and employees, increasing loyalty, productivity and innovation.
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