As far as your team members are concerned, have you considered the importance of mental health when working remotely?
The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably ushered in some serious socioeconomic and sociopolitical upheaval around the world — and whoever would have thought? No one seems untouched by it.
International lockdowns have rendered many individuals and businesses helpless, plunging them into uncertainty and a state of isolation.
One key aspect that has emerged over the past several months because of this is mental health when working remotely. Many people across the globe have be forced haphazardly into a remote working environment. (Of course, one might well say they’re the lucky ones because their jobs allow them to work remotely. There are millions across the globe who can’t!)
While talks about work-related stress, anxiety and depression have been fairly mainstream in recent years, the pandemic has upped these issues and their impact considerably. Quarantines and lockdowns have plunged people into isolation. The fact that they aren’t part of a physical, socially charged workplace like they used to be is a source of increasing confusion and frustration that unquestionably impacts their mental health when working remotely.
Voice123 is lucky in that regard. Because we’ve been working remotely for so long with team members spread around the world, we’re geared to it and have long since adapted accordingly.
If you’re struggling, we have some advice for you on how to follow suit. Check out our handbook on how we work remotely and the processes and methodologies we subscribe to. We know they work. We also continue to keep a finger on the pulse of the mental health of all our team members.
Because it matters.
Mental health matters
Daily physical interactions increase a sense of wellbeing and belonging for most folk — but the pandemic has ripped that intuitive practice to shreds. Currently, nobody can hang out with friends, or go pubbing and shopping together or even chat over desks in an open plan office.
To overcome this, workplaces should encourage more and more remote interactions with leaders, managers, and co-workers. This will not only boost the performance of employees, but also support their mental and emotional wellness.
There are ample collaboration technologies that prove extremely effective in managing team communications, while adhering to social distancing norms. Some companies are encouraging employees to take “virtual coffee breaks” during their work hours to maintain the same comfort level of working together as a team.
Moreover, during the pandemic, personal and work lives of employees are likely to merge, especially for those professionals who are used to working from home. This can pose additional mental health issues. As a number of schools remain closed, kids will be home, either playing or participating in online classes. So, working parents struggle to keep work and personal responsibilities apart.
Dealing with burn out
Burnout is a real phenomenon plaguing workplaces today. In fact, it is now a medical condition as per the World Health Organization. In a recent remote work study, it was found that 82 percent of tech workers working remotely in the United States felt burned out. 52 percent of them say that remote working involves longer working hours than regular office days.
Employees now should realize that working remotely is the New Normal. But that also means that those who are new to remote working should be aware of their mental health.
They may be compelled to put in longer hours at work and show that they are more productive by working from home. Doing so will leave them with no post-work activities to indulge in. Breaks are important.
The best way to deal with burnout is by maintaining a peaceful home workspace. Remote workers can create a private place to work, and take exercise breaks inbetween. They should make much more of an effort to communicate with colleagues, friends and family members to feed their need for social interactions during lockdown.
What your company can do to maintain employees’ mental health
Here are a few tips that managers and HR professionals in your organization should follow:
- Being empathetic: This is a time when employees may feel anxious and overwhelmed about everything in general. Your HR and People Ops professionals should show empathy towards and be open to talking to them about any issues they might be facing at work.
- Using communication tools: To stay connected and make collaboration better, organizations should encourage the use of virtual meeting software and other collaboration tools. Such tools will enable face-to-face communication. Again, do check out Voice123’s Handbook.
- Talk about mental health: HR professionals and managers should understand that the pandemic has brought about an uncertain reality. Without social interactions or any sign of normalcy, employees are prone to develop mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Organizations should create a virtual environment where employees can feel free to talk about their emotions and state of mind.
Around the globe, people are becoming collectively conscious about mental health issues. As a business owner, it’s vital that you show your employees that you care about them and their wellbeing.
In many instances, remote is the future of work.