The ongoing global health crisis has forced millions of employees across the United States to work remotely. Although this has definitely helped in curbing the spread of the virus and consequently saving thousands of lives, it has also had a significant impact on the well-being of those who’ve had to work from home for months.
With the line between personal space and workspace becoming increasingly blurred, employees have to face new mental health challenges. And, in these unprecedented times, it’s up to companies to support the health of their employees and encourage and adopt practices to enhance their well-being.
Here are three things they can start with:
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, only 5% of the nation’s workforce was working from home regularly. However, since we all have different living situations and sets of responsibilities, working from home affects each of us differently. For instance, working from home would be different for a 27-year-old bachelor living alone than it would be for a single mother of two young children—even if they had the same job. With widespread childcare and school closures, the latter would have to balance her work tasks while looking after her children.
Companies can help the situation significantly by offering their employees flexibility that matches their needs. A good step could be managers having open conversations with employees about how and when work can be accomplished.
For those who are not used to working from home, social isolation can be a real issue. An effective way for companies to alleviate the problem and keep morale up is to encourage employees to find time to have virtual lunches, coffee or even happy hours with their colleagues. Sponsoring group games, such as Wonder Polls, Water Cooler Trivia and Quiz Breaker, which employees can play in their downtime, is another good idea.
Many companies assume their workers will find it easy to work remotely given that they have the equipment needed, such as chatting software and video cameras. However, research has revealed that it isn’t that simple. The different ways people prefer to communicate and use technologies can lead to conflict.
To prevent this, companies can offer online training sessions on the most effective ways to work online, during which they can build awareness of cultural and individual differences, including preferences for conference calls, phone calls and emails.
Hall of Fame motivational keynote speaker Steve Gilliland uses virtual presentations to help organizations connect with employees so they can overcome the challenges of working from home. These virtual experiences unite people when getting together in person isn’t an option. Check out Steve’s virtual presentations and bestselling books to look out for your employee mental well-being.