How to support the mental health of your remote workforce now and post the coronavirus pandemic

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I have found working from home quite challenging as I have missed meeting people face to face, I have missed the human and social interaction with others.

We thrive on human interactions; it is good for our mental health. Human interactions with each other bring about chemical reactions in the brain and release oxytocin which is known as the hormone that gives us the feeling of happiness and its good for our wellbeing.

All HR and line managers need to recognise that some employees may find working from home may be a lot more complicated than others, so can you support your staff working remotely during the pandemic?

Tips to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your remote workers

Weekly team meetings

By bringing everyone together, can enhance the sense of belonging and reduce the feelings of isolation. 

Choose the phone instead of sending an email

If you are dealing with a sensitive issue, then pick up the phone or arrange for a video conference call and avoid sending an email as your message may get misinterpreted and cause unnecessary stress.

Provide emotional support

Keep means of communication open and be flexible in your approach to get critical messages to staff.  Not knowing can cause anxiety. 

Review the diversity of your workforce

Offer any additional support and access to Employee Assistance Programmes to staff who may have underlying mental health issues or health conditions. 

Encourage employees to take the opportunities for self-development

Encourage employees to engage with TED Talks, podcasts, free online courses, and webinars around professional materials as well as about their mental health and wellbeing.

Help staff to set boundaries

Around work and nonwork spaces, time and using devices. Think wellbeing; staff may need support about taking time for breaks, lunch and finishing times for the day.

Encourage staff to take ‘me’ time

Remind staff to take time out to do other activities than work. Set up virtual happy hours that allow staff to discuss what they are doing outside of work to help with stress and anxiety. 

Ask for feedback

Find out how each member of your team is doing, what are their challenges and achievements. By showing you care, will make them feel less isolated. 

Encourage self-care

To exercise, get quality sleep, drink plenty of water and take regular breaks and to continue with lives as they usually can within the national pandemic restrictions.

Keep an eye on your mental health

It is essential not to forget self- care. Sharing your own experiences and difficulties with the team can encourage to staff to talk about their mental health and seek support. 

The pandemic has changed how we work. And while the pandemic will pass, remote working is here to stay.  

To learn more about mental health training for supporting your staff or to promoting wellbeing practices to support a more inclusive workplace, contact us.

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