The world of work was turned on its head in March with the implementation of lockdown to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, millions of non-essential workers have been asked to work from home. This presents many challenges, but one which should not be overlooked is the mental health and wellbeing of your employees.
Research shows that working from home can lead to serious mental health issues if not handled carefully. So in this article, we want to focus on a few simple tips you can implement to help maintain good mental health for your employees during these unprecedented times.
Create a structured day
So far from being less stressful, the loneliness of working from home will come as a shock to most people. Especially if your employees are used to working in an open-plan office environment where social discourse is encouraged.
While you can never hope to recreate this type of atmosphere in isolation, you can structure the working day to address the issue.
1. Designate a place to work – Have employees create a dedicated workspace which is free from distractions.
2. Create a daily routine – Try and keep as close to your normal daily routine as possible. You should keep the same working hours and maintain proper lunch and coffee breaks.
3. Set to-do lists each day – You should be doing this anyway, but it is never too late to pick up the habit of creating to-do lists each day.
4. Make time for proper lunch breaks – Make sure employees are having proper lunch breaks. They should be the same length as usual and encourage employees to go outside and get some fresh air.
5. Leave your work area clean each day – Having a clear desk policy is a good idea when working from home. This will help to reduce stress levels and create a clear distinction between work and home time. This is especially important when working at home.
Maintain regular communication channels
1. Establish communication channels early – Discuss with your team how you intend to keep in touch and maintain regular communication throughout the day.
2. Use video whenever possible – Up to 93% of communication is non-verbal. So resist the temptation to send emails and use video whenever possible.
3. Follow up video calls with an email summary – Email is still useful, however, for sending a summary of conversations with employees.
4. Create virtual lunch breaks – It’s a good idea to help maintain social contact by creating virtual lunch breaks. Use video conferencing software to schedule a time for employees to sign-in for a casual chat.
5. Respect boundaries between work and personal contact – It may be tempting to use platforms like Facebook to maintain contact. But doing so may blur the boundaries between professional and personal relationships. This risks increasing stress levels for employees. So try to maintain separate communication channels for work and play.
While working from home presents many challenges, by implementing a structured working day and maintaining regular contact channels it is possible to sustain wellbeing and limit mental health damage. And don’t forget, if you need technical support while in isolation, Leemic representatives are still available to provide support remotely if required.