Taking Care of the Remote Team's Mental Health
7/19/2021 | By Marella Gimenez
Due to COVID-19, workers are forced to work virtually at home. Although it was a bit rushed, employers and employees eventually needed to work on remote working and mental health management.
Some remote teams can have flexible schedules. As long as you finish your work, you can run errands. This better work-life balance improves productivity and time management. Apart from that, there is less commuting stress. As you see, it takes an hour or more to get to and from work. Besides wasting time, commuting is also associated with stress and anxiety. Also, employees can create an office setup inside their house.
And yes, this remote system of working is also money-saving. Instead of paying for car maintenance, gas, transportation going to the office, or parking fees, you can save this money. On top of that, the main priority of remote working is to keep the employees safe from the virus and continuously work.
Consequently, this system comes with unique challenges. Although it looks great working from home as we face pandemic, it can actually impact mental health. Some workers may experience stress, burnout, anxiety, or pressure to work.
How is remote working affecting your employees’ mental health?
Even though this work setup may be temporary for employees and employers, remote work setup has become the new norm. As remote working arises, there are also unforeseen challenges that people are not prepared for. There is a link between remote working and mental health.
Although some business companies encourage flexible working schedules, some employees are also pressured to work extra hours to accomplish a task. Also, because their work is accessible from them, they tend to face difficulty unplugging from work. For some people, home is not a desirable workplace.
As a result, here are some of the remote worker's mental health risks:
1. Stress: It can be caused by a lack of time management leading to overwork or slow internet connection.
2. Anxiety or Depression: Some workers may feel no career growth or progress due to a work-from-home setup.
3. Isolation: Being alone where you do not have colleagues to speak to when problems arise can also be stressful. Loneliness can increase the risks of anxiety and depression.
4. Burnout: It usually happens when employees cannot separate their home life from work.
Why is mental health so hard to address?
Most of the time, people are not comfortable discussing mental health. It is apparently normal to feel worried, mad, or lonely. However, when these feelings take a toll on your daily routine and activities, a mental health problem arises.
There is a myriad of reasons why people find it challenging to discuss mental health problems, such as stress and burnout.
1. People's Differences
As an individual, we have different ways to address and cope with our personal issues. For some, remote working and mental health management can be easy. While some people find it difficult to create a desirable workplace within their home. Loneliness may affect their performance. We cannot generalize how people overcome stress and problems.
2. Personal Fear
Some are worried that other people may spread wrong information or some may comment nasty things about them. Fear of discrimination and shame is the common reason why people do not talk about their mental health problems.
The negative stigma associated with mental illness hinders a person from sharing their feelings and thoughts. Some people tend to label them crazy that might negatively impact their careers.
Mental Health Is As Important As Physical Health
Physical and mental health works hand-in-hand. If a person experiences a mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression, it can affect their ability to cooperate and participate in social activities. Just like physical health conditions, mental illness can adversely impact work performance. It may also cause sleep problems, addiction, and chronic diseases.
Mental health and physical health are treated differently. Both aspects require focus and acknowledgment. However, it is hard to understand how mental health problems affect a person. But, it is no secret that undergoing mental health conditions comes with negative perceptions and discrimination. Because of this unfair treatment, people cannot seek help, leading to detrimental results. If we neglect to recognize mental illnesses as we do in addressing chronic diseases, then they can never get proper treatment.
Ways To Take Care and Maintain Your Remote Ream’s Mental Health and Wellness
Undeniably, remote working and mental health should be addressed carefully. If you are handling a workforce remotely, keep in mind that mental health and physical health are equally important. Remember that each member may face the coronavirus pandemic differently.
Mental health and work are important in career growth, whether it is in an office or virtual workspace. If this is your first time handling a remote team, it is essential that you take advice from mental health professionals. Here are some practical tips to promote better care for your workforce's mental health and wellness.
Leading By Example From The Top Down
As the leader of the team, you will face good and bad days. It is easy to be in a good mood and engage during working hours. But when things don't go as planned, it is vital to show and maintain your posture. Although you are working remotely, it would be best to set a good example. You can also show them your workplace as an inspiration, and how you value time management.
Communicating and Informing Your Employees About The Steps Your Business Is Taking To Address COVID-19
It is essential that your team knows that the company is doing its best to alleviate the current problems. Also, it allows them to determine whether their work environment is safe amidst pandemic if they transition to a traditional work setup. Being informed and knowledgeable about the management's steps in addressing COVID-19 can lessen their anxiety.
Let Leaders Make Mental Health As A Company Priority
With the current problems the world is facing, leaders are responsible for creating an environment where mental health and work is the focus. Leaders should know that employees' mental health and well-being have a direct effect on their performance and productivity.
Provide Professional Mental Health Coaching For The Employees
Professional Mental Health Coaching can debunk the misconceptions and myths about mental health. This will help in creating a supportive environment and reduce stigma about this matter.
Offer Free Screening For Employees to Assess Their Risks And Therefore To Seek Support If Needed
Apart from coaching, assessment and evaluation can help in addressing mental health issues. Furthermore, the company will learn how to approach their workers and provide proper treatment. Show your support by providing opportunities to assess their mental health.
Raise Awareness About Your Employees’ Mental Health Benefits Available Through Their HMO Health Insurance Plans
When employees know that their HMO Health Insurance also covers mental health, we can significantly reduce the stigma and ask for help. The pandemic affected our lives in multiple ways, and it is vital that employees can recognize their emotions. Through these benefits, you can increase the sense of well-being within your remote team.
Promote Physical Activities
Allow your team to have a work-life-play balance. Physical activities can help them overcome stress and anxiety. As a team leader, you can initiate programs and provide fitness subscriptions like yoga or gym.
Make Time To Socialize Virtually
Due to social distancing, people cannot go out, date, and eat at restaurants like they did before. Isolation can lead to stress and anxiety. But remind your team that their social life should not be limited because you can still hold virtual meetings. You can create virtual games and workout and watch movies together through online apps.
Encourage the use of PTOs
Some employees think that they no longer need to use their leaves because they are at the comfort of their house. However, a healthy work environment allows people to take a leave, have a vacation, and rest.
There are several ways to show appreciation and gratitude to your employees. Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people are having a hard time dealing with their problems. But they still manage to work for the company. Acknowledging their hard work and work performance can boost their confidence.
Doing The Extra Initiatives
Openness and Transparency with Employees About Their Job Security
Let them know the current status of their job position. Allow them to prepare themselves if the company will downsize. Conversely, secure their feelings by being transparent.
Create strong relationships with your remote team through the use of video conferencing & collaboration platforms such as Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. Support them in their career growth, and make them feel that they are valued in the company.
Celebrating Milestones Like Birthdays and Anniversaries
These days are important, not only for the company but for the employees too. Celebrating these milestones together creates a strong bond. Also, this is the best time to recognize their hard work.
In Conclusion: Change Starts From The Top
Although we may feel safe within our house, it is important to remember that there are bigger problems these employees are facing. Mental health conditions are not less serious compared to other illnesses. This is why your team needs reliable and strong leadership in creating a desirable work environment.
Make KMC Solutions your partner. Apart from a reliable workspace, we offer a supportive community, strong customer relationships, and partnerships. Our services can help your remote team in addressing mental health while working. We focus on developing a workplace and creating customized workforce distribution plans.