Are you a manager struggling to navigate the challenges of remote work?
We know it's not all sunshine and rainbows, even with increased productivity and reduced costs. Supporting employee wellness and mental health is now more important than ever before.
Here's the scoop: the World Health Organization found that depression and anxiety disorders are responsible for $1 trillion in lost productivity for the global economy each year! And just in the US, workplace stress is costing businesses an estimated $300 billion annually. Yikes!
In this blog post, we'll dive into the impact of remote work on employee wellness and mental health, and provide practical strategies for managers to better support their remote teams.
How Remote Work Has Affected Employee Wellness and Mental Health
While remote work has plenty of perks, it's also got some new challenges that can negatively impact employee wellness and mental health. Cue the lack of social interaction and feelings of isolation that can lead to depression, anxiety, and burnout.
Your employees might be feeling like they're on a deserted island, totally disconnected from their colleagues, work, and the organization's goals. To top it off, the line between work and personal time can get blurry, making it a struggle to unplug and recharge.
Don't let your remote workers feel like they're stranded on a lonely island - let's explore some strategies to support employee wellness and mental health!
Strategies for Supporting Your Remote Team
1. Prioritize Communication
Communication is key in remote work. A study by TINYpulse found that employees who feel their communication is effective with their managers are 4.9 times more likely to be engaged in their work.
Managers must ensure that their remote teams have access to the resources they need to communicate effectively. This includes providing access to communication tools such as video conferencing, chat software, and email.
It's also important to establish clear communication protocols, including expectations for response times and guidelines for what constitutes urgent versus non-urgent communication.
Useful tools: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet
2. Establish a Regular Check-in Schedule
Regular check-ins are essential for keeping remote employees engaged and connected.A survey by Harvard Business Review found that 52% of remote employees feel disconnected from their team because they lack access to information.
Managers should schedule weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with their remote team members to discuss work progress, challenges, and feedback.
These check-ins should also provide an opportunity for employees to share any personal challenges they may be facing.
Useful tools: Google Calendar, Asana, Trello
3. Encourage Work-Life Balance
Remote work can blur the lines between work and personal time, leading to burnout. In fact, A study by Owl Labs found that remote workers are 22% more likely to work longer hours than office-based workers.
Managers should encourage their remote teams to take breaks, set boundaries, and disconnect from work when not on the clock.
This includes encouraging employees to take regular breaks during the workday, establishing clear expectations for work hours, and encouraging employees to take time off when needed.
Useful tools: Calendly, Focus@Will, Toggl
4. Provide Resources for Mental Health Support
Managers should provide their remote teams with access to resources for mental health support. This includes employee assistance programs (EAPs), virtual therapy options, and mental health education resources.
A survey by Aetna found that employees who use mental health benefits are 21% more productive than those who do not. By providing these resources, managers can help their teams proactively manage their mental health and prevent burnout.
Useful tools: Headspace, BetterHelp, Ginger
5. Encourage Team Building
Remote work can be isolating, so it's essential to create opportunities for remote teams to connect and build relationships. Shockingly, A survey by Buffer found that 65% of remote workers report that they have never had a team-building session.
Managers can organize virtual team-building activities, such as online games, happy hours, or other group activities. This can help build camaraderie and promote a sense of belonging among remote team members.
Useful tools: Zoom, Slack, Donut
6. Provide Training and Development Opportunities
Professional development opportunities are essential for remote employees' career growth and job satisfaction. So much so that 94% of employees report that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development, according to a study by LinkedIn.
Managers can provide virtual training opportunities, webinars, and online courses to help their remote teams develop new skills and enhance their professional growth.
Useful tools: LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Coursera
7. Establish Clear Goals and Expectations
Clear expectations and goals are essential for remote employees' success. A survey by TINYpulse found that only 25% of employees feel that their manager gives them clear goals and expectations.
Managers should establish clear goals and expectations for their remote teams and provide regular feedback and performance evaluations. This can help remote employees stay focused and motivated while feeling supported and valued.
Useful tools: Asana, Trello, Monday.com
8. Encourage Physical Activity
Sitting at a desk all day can take a toll on physical and mental health. A survey by Vitality Group found that employees who are physically active take 27% fewer sick days than their sedentary colleagues.
Managers should encourage their remote teams to take breaks and engage in physical activity during the workday. This can include encouraging employees to take walks, stretch breaks, or participate in virtual exercise classes.
Useful tools: Fitbit, Apple Watch, Peloton
Supporting Employee Well-Being with Remote Monitoring Software
Using remote monitoring software for employees can have significant benefits for both managers and employees, especially when it comes to employee well-being. Insightful is an example of remote monitoring software that can help managers gain valuable insights into their team's productivity and well-being.
Insightful provides programs to monitor computer activity, allowing managers to track how much time employees spend on different applications and websites during work hours and monitor remote employee productivity. This can help managers identify potential distractions or areas where employees may be struggling to stay focused, and offer support and resources to address these issues.
Additionally, remote workforce monitoring can help managers identify when employees may be overworked or experiencing burnout. By tracking the number of hours employees work each day, managers can ensure that employees are taking enough breaks and encourage them to disconnect from work when not on the clock. This can help prevent burnout and improve employee well-being.
While some may view remote monitoring tools as software for spying on employees, it's important to note that Insightful and other similar software are designed to support employees and improve their work experience. By identifying areas where employees may need additional support or resources, managers can proactively address issues and create a more positive work environment for their remote teams.