With COVID-19 requiring teams to adapt quickly to new patterns of working, this has left many workers vulnerable to the effects of self-isolation on their mental health and well-being.
Are you navigating your team through this shift? Prioritising your mental health, and that of your team is critical while working remotely. Take a look at 8 practical tips to support the well-being of your remote team.
Communicating the right way
Be intuitive about the ways you can reach out to your team remotely to make them feel connected, secure and a valued member of your team. Cementing a communication structure, checking in with individuals, showing appreciation and gaining valuable feedback are all structures you can create to communicate with your staff and boost morale.
Tools and tech
Frustrations can surface within the team from an inability to access the necessary tools to perform their jobs effectively. Think about what you offer in the office - such as back supports, dual screens, ergonomic keyboards, additional screens and noise-cancelling headsets - and touch base with your team to see whether their home set-up significantly hinders them in any way. Offering what you can to your employees will make them comfortable, boost productivity and raise morale.
Creating a clear work-life balance
Remote working causes the line between working and home to become more blurred, so make sure you instil the importance of unplugging and maintaining a healthy balance among your team. Practices such as setting diary reminders to encourage your employees to wrap up the working day, setting aside full lunch breaks to displace from work and silencing email notifications in the evening can encourage employees to take valuable personal time and withdraw stress from their system.
There’s no reason why you can’t continue having ‘virtual coffee breaks’ or ‘sandwich and Skype’ team lunches to keep your team camaraderie intact and make sure it’s not all about work chat.
And practise what you preach! It’s important you look after your own well-being so you can also be there to support your team. Sharing your own self-care strategies can help your employees follow your example.
Maintaining your team culture
Continue the sense of community your team had in the office and think about some of those ‘rituals’ that you can mirror at home. There’s no reason why you can’t continue having ‘virtual coffee breaks’ or ‘sandwich and Skype’ team lunches to keep your team camaraderie intact and make sure it’s not all about work chat.
Identifying the signs
Fewer emails, a lack of response or complete withdrawal could be telling signs that a team member is struggling. Be mindful and alert to the symptoms of mental ill health and ensure all your team are aware that you have a compassionate and supportive relationship to mental ill health and that you are there to support and guide as may be necessary.
Knowing the support tools
As a manager, be aligned with the organisation’s well-being strategy and ensure you are aware of all the support your business provides to people who may be struggling with their mental health. From video counselling sessions, virtual exercise classes, to mental health apps such as Headspace and Calm, knowing the spectrum of resources at hand will mean you're equipped to provide the best advice when it’s time to talk.
Clarity and direction
Providing clarity and direction can help teams to focus and feel supported when adjusting to a new way of working. Discuss with your teams how you'd like to run supervision, check-ins, and work sign-offs remotely.
Structure should provide staff a clearer sense of direction, but it shouldn’t be constricting so don’t pack the working week with check-ins. Trust your team to work autonomously and make them feel empowered to use initiative and perform to the fullest.
Understanding family responsibilities
Some of your team will be juggling remote working with childcare or caring for family members at home, driving feelings of guilt and causing employees to lack focus when having to prioritise one over the other. Perhaps you’ll be able to relate – so share a structured working from home plan that can keeps them and their families happy and content.
Have a look at our other tips and advice.