Time to Focus on Remote Employees Well-Being

mental health well-being Jun 21, 2023

Way back before the events of 2020, we all had our own ideas of what remote working would be like.

Some people assumed that remote workers spent all day sitting in front of the television in their PJs. Others believed that remote work was the key to hyper-focus and productivity.

When over 60% of the workforce began operating remotely, we saw what remote working could truly be like. Although there were benefits to working remotely, like more flexibility and the ability to avoid the morning commute, there were downsides too.

One of the biggest issues we didn’t see coming was the negative impact that isolation can have on our well-being.

It’s Time to Focus on Remote Employee Wellbeing

Well-being isn’t just a buzzword in the business landscape anymore. It’s important for all business leaders to be aware of the well-being of their employees. There’s plenty of research to show that a happy workforce is more productive and more likely to stick around. 

Unfortunately, the effort we put into figuring out what raises well-being in the standard office environment isn’t going to have the same impact in the remote world. Free smoothies in the office and a pool table in the break room won’t cut it in the age of the digital workforce.

Here’s how you can observe and improve remote employee well-being:

1. Encourage work-life balance. The concept of work-life balance has been around for quite some time. Now that more people are working remotely, and they’re not physically leaving the office each day, it can be difficult to separate home and professional lives. 

Technology means that even if your staff have a separate office space in their home, they can find it difficult to close the door on their workload. As a leader, it’s up to you to encourage a positive balance. Tell your employees to set their status to “away” or “offline” when they’re not available and stop notifications from the workplace arriving on their phones.

2. Set up regular communication sessions. Communication can suffer in a remote working environment. Often, you won’t have access to things like water-cooler chats in the remote landscape. This makes it difficult for people to find time to talk and bond. Though regular video conferencing sessions about the business and what projects employees need to work on next are valuable, don’t underestimate the value of casual conversation too. It’s during these sessions that you can see how your employees are doing.

Create weekly “happy hour” video conferencing sessions where people can come to talk about their week and air concerns.

Provide your staff members with the option to call you or arrange a one-on-one conversation when they’re worried about something.

3. Offer access to assistance. Over 70% of employees say that they’re constantly experiencing work-related stress. When you start looking at remote workers, you may notice a higher amount of stress but fewer people talking about it.

To make your employees feel as supported as possible, a great tool to offer is an employee assistance program, which enables companies to help staff with any personal or workplace issues that might be harming their well-being or performance.

4. Make it easy to ask for help. Most employees aren’t comfortable asking their bosses and managers for assistance at the best of times. It gets even more difficult to do this when you’re living in an environment plagued by unemployment and businesses going bankrupt.

Reassuring your employees that you’ll always be ready to assist them in improving their well-being in any way that you can is important.

Creating a company culture built on mutual support, transparency, and understanding will ensure that your staff members know they can come to you when they need to change something about their working structure.

To begin with, you could even offer things like anonymous reviews and suggestion options, where employees can submit a concern that they have about their work structure and offer ideas on how you can all overcome it together.  

Surviving in a new era of hybrid and remote work is a complicated experience. However, if we move forward with a focus on well-being, every business can achieve incredible things.