Mental Health is a Top Priority
As explained by WELCOA, there are numerous benefits of employees working remotely. It offers flexibility, freedom, safety, and comfort. Plus, not commuting provides employees with extra time that can be used in numerous ways that promote mental health including exercise and other forms of self-care, spending time with friends and family, and even staying on top of household chores. However, employers are starting to realize the unique challenges that come with remote work. Social isolation, feelings of loneliness, work guilt, and poor work-life balance can all be detrimental to employee mental health if a system for mental health promotion is missing. That is why the U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being communicates that mental health for remote workers is a top priority, especially as we look ahead into 2023.
Supporting Remote Employees
Listed below are the best tips we have compiled to help you support the mental health of your remote employees!
- Communicating your mental health and well-being services and resources is by far the most important step. As explained by Employee Benefit News, your communication needs to be “holistic.” Meaning you need to utilize multiple communication strategies to ensure the right solutions are reaching your target audience; in this case, your remote workers. Each solution should also be clearly explained and outlined with the benefits of participation for employees to understand. In addition, make sure employees have easy access to all services and resources, whether that is through a share drive, their portal, clickable links provided via a digital brochure, etc.
- Encourage employees to set boundaries. Disconnecting from work and setting healthy work-life boundaries is one of the biggest issues for remote workers. When boundaries aren’t set, lines get crossed way too often which can lead to burnout. Consider hosting a virtual seminar on boundary setting or connect with employees one-on-one to go over how to set boundaries. As an employer, set and follow healthy work-life boundaries for yourself and be mindful of the boundaries employees.
- Limit virtual meetings to only the essentials. Back-to-back Zoom meetings can be draining for employees and end up impacting their productivity. While these meetings are important for connection, ensure that meetings are run efficiently and are not over used.
- Encourage physical activity! Just because remote work provides the extra time for exercise, it doesn’t always mean employees take advantage of that. They may need a little push from you to get motivated. Provide subscriptions to at-home workout programs, consider reimbursements for home workout equipment, send out weekly links to free workouts on YouTube, or provide at-home workouts through your wellness portal. Also, encourage employees to block off time on their calendar for exercise.
- Ensure employees use their PTO and communicate the importance of taking mental health days. Remote workers often feel pressure to still work when they are sick or are feeling overwhelmed. Lead by example and make sure you use your own PTO and communicate when you are taking a mental health day. When employees know that this is okay to do, they are much more likely to take time to recharge and not push themselves into burnout.
If you are looking to create a detailed action plan for addressing remote employee mental health in 2023, check out the latest blog post from WELCOA! They outline what to consider before creating an action plan as well as a step-by-step guide to ensure you create a plan that will be successful for your unique organization.