Companies around the world can no longer put mental health on the back burner. According to reports on The Guardian, neglecting the mental health of employees leads to an economic loss of at least £94 billion every year. The primary cause for this is, of course, workplace stress—whether it’s due to employee conflicts, extreme workload, or excessive work hours. And that’s in a normal year…
Due to current predicaments, much of the workforce is now operating remotely. In fact, Computer Weekly informs that two-thirds of employees will continue to work from home even after a vaccine for COVID-19 has been discovered. And while the UK government has urged organisations to equip themselves with the necessary tools to support their employees’ mental health, the physical distance makes it harder for businesses to ensure that any issues that arise, are quickly (and appropriately) addressed.
From investing in remote wellness programmes to performing regular check-ins, here are some ways you can focus on mental health considering the virtual workplace.
Do regular check-ins
Regular check-ins can help you understand what your staff are currently working on and the issues they’re currently struggling with, so you can provide guidance before they can become a real problem. Remote check-ins are much the same, but with the added function of asking how people are coping at home. The pandemic has proved difficult for many, so it helps to check-in as regularly as possible. Maintaining an open line of communication will not only make your employees feel cared for, but it’s also good for building a culture of trust and care in your workplace.
Ensure people are taking breaks
Working at home, while convenient, can also be stressful for some. A study on CNN found that those who operated remotely tend to work more than they perhaps did in the office, which could lead to a burnout issue. Indeed, Pain Free Working emphasises how breaks are necessary for both mental and physical health. Encourage your staff to eat, take walks and stretch throughout the day. Even better, implement guidelines on office hours to encourage staff to have a good work/life balance.
Invest in an EAP
An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a confidential workplace counselling service designed to assist employees in resolving work-related or even personal problems they find difficult to open up about. You have the option of developing a programme on your own, preferably with the expertise of a professional guiding you, or you can hire in a suitable company to come up with the perfect EAP for your business. Carefully consider all factors surrounding it, from coverage to costs.
Host event nights
One of the biggest struggles in remote working is the lack of face-to-face interaction. True enough, The 2020 State of Remote Work Report notes that one in five remote workers admits to feeling lonely. To mitigate this feeling, it helps to host non-work-related events to encourage casual interaction between your employees. This can be anything such as game nights, virtual workouts, and online hangouts. To ensure that staff get the most our of these virtual meetups, you can open the floor up for event suggestions, too.
Make them feel valued
Sometimes, the best way to ensure that your employees stay happy and productive is to emphasize the value that they bring to the company. This message is harder to convey remotely, but it’s not impossible. The Ladders outlines a couple of things you can do to make remote workers feel valued—from trusting people to do their work independently, to providing tools that can improve their work-from-home setup. Give feedback when you think things can be improved and reward them when they do an exemplary job.
Focusing on the mental health of your employees can make people more resilient to stress, focus better, and improve their relationships at work and at home. Mental wellness is no workplace trend—it’s a necessity.
Exclusively written for TheLifeAdventure.co by Raven Jameson