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Remote working has become the new norm of working over the past several months. Not only companies are affected by the current situation, but employees as well. Although working from home seems easy, employees' mental state can be negatively influenced. This is because the interactions, sense of belonging, and relationship with others are taken out of the equation when working remotely. Thus, it is important to remember that mental wellbeing of employees should be prioritised at all times, as it not only maximises performance, but also to show appreciation and let them know that they are the backbone of the company.
In order to find ways to improve/maintain employee’s wellbeing, it is important to tackle the underlying issues that employees might face when working from home:
Communication will be different when it comes to remote working. People do not talk as much as usual, rather only interact when there is “something important”. Not being in the same room makes the work environment less immersive which leads to isolation and difficulty in tracking what others are doing.
Loneliness can be defined as the most common challenge when working remotely. Being in an office setting provides opportunities to be social and build relationships among other colleagues. Unfortunately, remote working does not provide such activities. Thus, relationship building with others will be “paused” temporarily with everyone working in different places.
With that being said, solutions can be implemented by managers and employees to solve these issues by also using the help of technology.
There is no better way to start the week than having a motivating meet up with the team. Since in-person meetings are not possible, this can still be done virtually in order to keep the team engaged and informed of what others are doing. In order to do this, teams need a calendar app to schedule virtual meetups and prioritize it all week. It will now appear in their daily agenda and will not forget it. This can remind employees that they are part of a bigger group and that they are not working alone. In addition, calendars can be used to schedule social breaks in order to avoid overworking.
One of the efficient ways of tackling loneliness when working from home is to check on each other regularly. It is important to ask fellow colleagues how they are doing and whether they need any assistance. Not only does this benefit productivity, but it also has a positive psychological effect and makes the work environment less lonely. This can be performed using a chat app that supports instant communication with colleagues. Also, since there are no more “coffee-break” interactions, using this method can help to get to know colleagues better and take a minor step back from work.
Sharing topics or information that is unrelated to work can be a healthy way to develop relationships and trust among colleagues. It can also serve as a break from work. This can be achievable by creating a specific interest group that is dedicated to share this sort of information. Share images of holidays, weekends, or even images of your cat. Use this to make the working environment more entertaining and lively.
Another good way to maximise employee’s wellbeing is to show them appreciation publicly. The activity feed can be used to thank them personally for their hard work every week. For instance, on Friday evening or after every project, colleagues can show appreciation to a specific person/group and write something “nice” on the page where everyone can see. This is a good practice to increase bond and relationship.
Despite challenges of remote working, there are always solutions just like any other things in life. As a matter of fact, there are benefits and rewards when you get used to it. However, in order to get to this stage, everyone in the group should be in the correct and healthy mindset to be able to move forward. With that being said, the suggestions above will help you get there.