- Posted by Jon Harju
- On November 25, 2019
Many people embrace working from home as a way to improve their work-life integration or it may allow them to continue living in their community while taking on an out-of-town position. There’s no doubt that working from home removes some of the time pressures and distractions that go along with commuting daily into a busy work environment, but it can also come at a cost.
Our mental health and work are intertwined. And, for some, working from home can decrease stress levels. But for others, the feelings of isolation and disconnection can put their mental health at risk.
The state of remote work
A recent report says 49% of remote workers note that their biggest struggle is wellness-related — and more specifically, 22% can’t unplug after work, 19% feel lonely, and 8% can’t stay motivated.
With the popular move towards remote work, more employees are at risk of feeling less connected with their managers and colleagues. Technology may connect us to people more efficiently, but the quality of our connections is changing.
Working from home can come at a cost for employees
When employees work remotely, they might miss out on:
- Team dynamics and face-to-face collaboration
- The opportunity to provide input into leadership’s decision-making
- Recognition and feeling appreciated
- Relationship building, camaraderie and social connection with colleagues
Feeling part of the team
In the virtual environment, there can be a greater risk of managers focusing more on tasks and not on the relationships and career development of their remote employees. Remote workers can be more likely to feel like a cog in a machine, rather than an essential part of the team.
5 ways leaders help better support remote employees’ mental wellbeing
Include the whole team in the decision making and planning processes. Facilitate onsite gatherings that remote employees can attend and connect with co-workers.
Leaders should strive to regularly check-in with remote employees by email, phone, instant messaging and/or video calls. This is an opportunity to show support and make time to answer questions and address concerns.
Facilitate regular in-person meetings with a social component attached, i.e., organizing a team lunch, drinks, sports or participate in a local activity. Consider creating short and sweet monthly onsite “coffee dates” between employees who have never met or if they’re out-of-town, encourage them to pick up the phone or dial into a video chat when they need to connect with team members.
Enhanced mental health benefits
Consider providing a mental health benefit that allows remote employees to access early screening, on-demand support and educational tools to help prevent and address mental health risk factors and concerns.
Thank-you notes and other formal recognition are important gestures to show how much remote employees are valued by the team.
Greater awareness, connection and support
Working remotely can put employees at risk of feeling isolated from the rest of the organization. But, incorporating greater mental health awareness in the workplace culture, more opportunities for social connection, and enhanced mental health benefits can help remote employees stay engaged and mentally well.
Book a demo of Snapclarity’s virtual mental healthcare platform to see how it will transform your employees’ experience.