When the pandemic hit, most workers in America moved out of traditional offices and into their homes to carry out their job responsibilities. Although working from home offers various benefits, it also creates different challenges businesses may not feel accustomed to managing.
One of the biggest qualms with working from home is the negative effect on workers’ mental health. Many remote employees struggle with feelings of loneliness, isolation, depression, and anxiety. Along with providing adequate mental health resources, there are many ways businesses can help support their employees on a day-to-day basis. We’ve provided ways companies can keep their remote employees – especially as we exit Mental Health Awareness Month.
It can be easy for employees to unintentionally isolate themselves from the rest of their coworkers, whether they are working remotely from home or The Mill Downtown Wilmington or The Mill Concord. Some employees turn their cameras off or stay on mute for team meetings, making it especially hard for managers to gauge their employees’ feelings. Checking in with your remote workforce can help you foster more meaningful relationships while also allowing you to know how they’re doing. There’s a fine line between checking in and micromanaging. The goal of check-ins should not always be a work update, because fostering meaningful connections can help you build relationships with employees.
Foster Meaningful Connections
At the office, social interactions happened naturally, like casual conversations and learning about similar interests, weekend plans, coffee breaks, lunch outings, and happy hours. It’s tough to have informal discussions and meaningful social interactions during virtual interactions [meetings].
Some ideas include activities during the workweek to build relationships and allow employees to take a break from their day-to-day tasks.
- Member Happy hours (members can gather their teams and organize happy hours in the community space, and beer is back on tap at both locations or BYOB from Girard Craft and Cork on 9th Street)
- Games (set up a ping pong – see picture above at The Mill Downtown Wilmington or a billiard competition at The Mill Concord)
- Sporting Events, like the Wilmington Blue Rocks
- Luncheons/Pizza Party
- Paint Nite or Bingo at The Mill Concord
If your remote teams are located in the same region, you can rent a conference room at The Mill (Downtown Wilmington or Concord) and have an in-person workday. This will offer your employees a change of scenery and allow them to work alongside their coworkers.
Create Opportunities of Flexibility
Now that remote work is the norm, managers need to find other ways to create flexibility at work.
The benefit of working remotely is the flexibility to work from anywhere, but employees might struggle to balance personal and professional life when working from home. Some ways to offer flexibility are flextime and a hybrid schedule. Another way employers help their off-site employees is by supporting their membership at The Mill. Rates start at $60.
Implement Wellness Programs
Although you cannot directly fix your workers’ situations, you can provide opportunities for them to get the help they need. The support you provide can do this by implementing wellness programs for employees to learn how to cope with different stressors and struggles inside and outside the workplace positively.
As of 2022, 65% of Americans feel stress or anxiety about their finances. With rising inflation rates, dealing with the pandemic, and the current housing market, there are various financial challenges that remote workers face. Financial wellness programs can help employees reduce money-related stress and reach their financial goals. If an employee is looking to relocate, a wellness program can help alleviate some of the pressure by helping them figure out how expensive a house they can afford. Or, if an employee is struggling with debt, a wellness program can teach them how to maximize their paycheck with budgeting techniques. Having this support system in place can help remote employees deal with external stressors in life and eliminate external distractions.
If you want a more holistic approach, consider a stress management program to help teach positive coping skills to remote employees. Having workshops and resources set in place will help them identify the root of their stress and give them the knowledge needed to alleviate it. Regardless of what wellness program you choose to implement, listen to your employees and understand their needs. You can create an effective program that directly supports your employees and contributes to positive company culture.
While we end May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important year-round to remind ourselves to check in, connect, be flexible, and advocate for mental health to enhance our well-being at home and work.