Following the government’s guidance to stay at home, most businesses have moved large proportions, if not all, of their workforce to remote working. Whilst remote working isn’t a recent phenomenon, for a lot of people this will be the first time they work remotely for a prolonged period. Employers still have the same duty of care to their employees working remotely. What can you do to maintain the wellbeing of employees during these challenging times?
The use of online collaboration technology is important to keep the team connected. If your organisation does not already have access to online conferencing systems or other online communication tools, many large providers are now offering access to free versions of their software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex and GoToMeeting. Encourage the use of video calls/meetings to prevent people from feeling isolated. It is much easier to see how someone is on a video rather than on a voice call or online chat.
For managers, it is important to regularly check-in on employees’ workloads and stress levels. When remote working there is a tendency for employees to be ‘always on’ and work longer hours which can naturally lead to increased stress. It is harder to pick up on the signs of stress remotely so having regular check-ins where employees know they can consult with you and voice any concerns or questions is important.
Use both formal and informal communication to keep in touch with your teams. Ensure staff are aware of key policies (e.g. sickness policy) whilst remote working and be clear about how changes may impact individuals. Ensure that you are available to listen to people’s concerns, having an open channel of communication is vital for all employees.
Organise virtual tea breaks as an opportunity to discuss non-work-related topics to maintain a level of social interaction between team members. These can help to reduce feelings of isolation and help to promote a sense of belonging.
Consider company-wide briefings and updates to ensure communication channels are kept open in the wider business – employees will be concerned about the overall business performance during these economic challenges therefore try to keep everyone in the loop where appropriate.
Encourage the team to stick to a routine as much as possible. We appreciate this may be difficult for parents who now have children at home following school closures but keeping to a daily routine as much as possible will help to create stability for the whole family.
Encourage everyone to stay active. Research shows that keeping our bodies moving will help keep us physically and mentally well. Think of ways you can encourage breaks during the day. At Jumar we have implemented a Weekly Wellbeing Challenge with the first week challenging everyone to do 15 minutes of exercise a day. There is a whole host of wearable technology or wellbeing apps that utilise push notifications to remind people to take regular breaks.
We are running virtual fitness sessions twice a week for the team, courtesy of Daniel at Kreate Training. This is a great way of keeping the team active and encourages a sense of community.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. At Jumar, we are circulating mental health advice and top tips to ensure the mental health of our workforce is protected and maintained whilst working from home. Make good use of your mental health first aiders and regularly check-in on those with known mental health issues. Consider assigning a mental health buddy to those who may be struggling.
Creating a plan for the day can help employees maintain focus and keep track of deadlines and priorities. Having a morning and evening routine can help to set employees up for a good day at work. Physically transitioning between work and home at the end of the day by going for a walk around the block (if they are not in self-isolation) or the garden can help to mentally switch off from work.
To hear more about what Jumar is doing to support our employees at this time or for advice about how to maintain your employees’ wellbeing whilst remote working please get in touch.