Remote Working: How To Promote Engagement and Maintain The Well-being of Your Employees
With recent figures showing that millions of pounds are lost each every year due to work-induced anxiety, stress and depression1, that 80% of workers feel stress when working – with over half of them saying they need assistance in learning how to deal with and manage their stress, and 40% of workers felt their job was either very or extremely stressful2, it’s no wonder that there is now huge focus and efforts to ensure the working life of employees as stere-free and seamless as possible. In fact, achieving exemplary levels of employee wellness should be the number one goal of all businesses. Period.
Employee health and wellbeing is of paramount importance to everyone – particularly when working remotely given the barriers remote working can cause; therefore, creating an environment that promotes and fosters mental wellbeing is crucial. The question is, how can you do this when your employees aren’t in the office?
Well, in today’s piece, we discuss several ways that you can promote the wellbeing of your employees who are working remotely.
Mental Health Is Equally As Important As Physical Health
Although this may seem like an obvious thing to state, all efforts, discussions and initiatives must centre around employee wellbeing place physical and mental health on an equal footing. If you’ve been guilty of not doing this in the past, don’t worry – research has shown that even doctors make this faux pas3, but all employers must do their utmost to promote a level laying field across all types of health conditions.
But it’s not only about being aware of the dangers of potential work-related mental health issues, but it’s also about monitoring them on a regular basis. One way to do this is through anonymous questionnaires, asking employees how stressed and anxious they feel. This will not only allow you to understand how they presently feel but also potentially predict and problems that may arise further down the line.
If anything, employees working remotely require more check-ins than usual – not because they need checking up on, but because doing so will help managers, supervisors and team leaders to build trust and a rapport with their employees. Doing so will allow discussion of morale, motivation, work process, work problems and potential development opportunities – all of which are vital to fostering mental wellbeing. But this shouldn’t be limited to employees and their superiors – also encourage inter-team conversations and interaction, even if not solely work-related.
Encourage Physical Activity
Exercise and physical activity have a plethora of health benefits – not only physical but mental also; therefore, actively encouraging employees to work out is an advisable strategy. Furthermore, partially or fully reimbursing your employees for gym memberships, activity and dance classes or anything other types of activity is one way to promote physical wellbeing to an ever greater degree. After all, a healthy employee is less likely to call in sick; therefore introducing physical health-based initiatives is one way to potentially reduce the number of sick days taken each year.
Flexible Working Is A Must
I think it’s safe to say that flexible working benefits everyone. Instilling a goal-based focus rather than an ‘hours-worked’ focus will allow employees working remotely to work around unavoidable things happening in their lives – such as doctors appointment or therapy – without feeling additional pressure and stress. A laid-back approach to working hours will give employees the freedom and support to both focus on their health and wellbeing and get their job done to the best of their ability.
Maintaining The Well-Being of Remotely-Working Employees: A Summary
In essence, the strategies used to promote both engagement and wellbeing in employees who are working remotely are almost identical to the ones used for those not working remotely. However, working remotely does come with its own challenges and pressure, not to mention the potential lack of connection to the company, potential feelings of isolation and inability to maintain a healthy and fruitful work-life balance; therefore, specific focus should be placed on those working remotely to ensure they avoid the common pitfalls of remote working.
1 Price, D., 2018. Can remote working affect your employee’s mental health? HRreview. Available at: https://www.hrreview.co.uk/analysis/analysis-wellbeing/can-remote-working-affect-your-employees-mental-health/111800
2 Anon, 2020. Workplace Stress. The American Institute of Stress. Available at: https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress
3 Bishop, T.F. et al., 2016. Care Management Processes Used Less Often For Depression Than For Other Chronic Conditions In US Primary Care Practices. Health Affairs. Available at: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1068