Remote work wellbeing – how to stay healthy, engaged and productive at home
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of companies pushed for a new work set-up that would allow business continuity without compromising the health and safety of workers. This set-up is the work from home arrangement or remote work. This work scheme has been quite efficient for businesses, however, behind the continuous work progress, the mental health and wellbeing of workers have been affected.
People may be having difficulties adjusting to the work set-up, being in isolation due to the community quarantine, or feeling uncomfortable with their living situation. All of these are possible factors that may affect their mental health. But there are ways to address and help alleviate the effects of remote work during this pandemic.
First off, we have to look at the factors that may be causing issues and concern to people’s wellbeing.
The lack of in-person contact can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Humans are social creatures, and many thrive by physically interacting with other people. Remote working has diminished the physical form of socializing, and its repercussions can be harmful to the physical and mental health of a person. Another factor can be their living situation, with the pandemic affecting different sectors of the community, workers may have difficulties working and relaxing in the same environment. Burnout is also a factor since working from home could drive people to work more because they believe that they have more time at home to be productive.
There are a lot of different factors, that is why it’s essential to keep an open mind and be more empathetic to workers during this period. If you’re a team leader, an employer, or the HR for a company, take this suggested guidance in mind to help you and your workers have a healthy wellbeing.
- Be mindful, understanding, and transparent
Your employees are facing different challenges with the current situation, they may be juggling with their roles at home while at work such, as caring for a family member. And with the restrictions of staying at home and adjusting to remote working, it may take a toll on their mental health. The best approach is to encourage your workers to inform you of what they are going through, and for you to understand their situation. They might already feel guilty or stressed for compromising their time or productivity. It is best to support them during this period through transparent communication and assure them that you care.
- Encourage work-life balance and breaks
People may have this mindset of maximizing their time at home by being more productive and going the extra mile to work on tasks. If it starts to affect their physical and mental health, it is indeed burnout. Due to working at home, people may not be able to separate their space for relaxing and working. It is highly encouraged that people set up a different space for where they work, not necessarily an office room, but just a corner where they can focus on work. And because they’re already at home, workers may feel compelled to keep on working non-stop. You have to encourage work-life balance; turn off notifications after work hours, take a few breaks within the day, and create a water cooler where people can talk about things unrelated to work.
- Do check-ins and provide support
Check-ins are similar to water coolers where you talk about things in your life outside of work. It allows you to know how your workers are feeling and get to know them more as they share about what they have been up to. This is a time where everyone can communicate freely and share encouragement. Check-ins can also build rapport and trust when an employee shares their troubles, this can be a great way to provide the support that is tailored fit for them. Additionally, for people feeling isolated, check-ins can be a great way to remedy that as it becomes an alternative way of social interaction through virtual communication tools.
Mental health and wellbeing are important more than ever for people working from home and even to those returning to their workplace. There is a lot of adjusting needed in both settings, as well as, concerns to take in mind during this shift to a “New Normal”.