Mental Health of Remote Employees: 11 Ways to Support Them

mental health

Have you noticed a change in your employees’ mental health while working from home?

Taking care of your employees’ mental health is crucial. It’s just as important as reaching project goals and maintaining productivity.

Remote working can be challenging for your teams’ mental health. It can turn your top performers and productive workers into tired and unmotivated employees.

Wondering what are the most common challenges remote workers face?

3 Common Challenges Remote Workers Face:

Isolation and Loneliness

Employees may feel isolated when their home suddenly becomes their office. 

They miss their coworkers. They miss chit-chatting while having coffee or lunch together. They miss celebrating together. 

This camaraderie doesn’t translate over Slack.

And they can feel lonely and isolated.

According to a Buffer Survey, 19% of remote employees report loneliness as their biggest challenge.

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Anxiety and Stress

The boundary between work and home life blurs for people who work in the same place they sleep. They can feel pressure and stress.

People have to manage their time, to-do, house chores, family, and projects. They may feel anxious to ‘be on’ when they should be off.

Giphy

Depression

Anxiety, stress, loneliness, and isolation can lead to depression. People feel stuck and it causes a loss of productivity.

They feel frustration, irritation, loss of interest, sleep disturbance, tiredness, restlessness, trouble concentrating, and physical problems.

The good news?

You can take care of your teams’ mental health and they don’t need to suffer. In this article, you’ll find 11 amazing ways to support your remote workers’ mental health.

11 Mental Health Tips 

1. Conduct mental health training and sessions

As a company, you have to start taking your employees’ mental health as seriously as physical health. If people suffer from anxiety, they can’t give their best performance and need some time to recover.

How can you promote mental well-being at your company?

Start providing mental health training and sessions virtually. Corporate mental health training should cover more practical topics that focus on preventing stress and burnout. You can onboard experts to take mental health information sessions.

The goal of mental health training should be to open conversations about mental health and equip people with tools to create a safe, engaged, and productive workplace.

At Springworks, we regularly conduct mental well-being sessions where we ask experts to come and talk to our employees.

mental health session

Quick Fact: 50% of all corporate employees in India suffer from stress and depression, according to the ASSOCHAM 2015 report.

2. Use technology to stay connected with teams

It’s important to stay connected with your team in a remote working world. As we discussed above, people can struggle with loneliness when working from home.

Tools and technologies are here to help.

To stay connected, it is important your employees have the tools designated for a specific communication need. For instance, there is Slack for instant messages and Zoom for virtual meetings.

Encourage employees to communicate and be open not just for work-related reasons, but for socializing, too. While they can’t pop over to a colleague’s desk to ask a question or chat, technology can help them feel less isolated.

Use tools such as Donut, Icebreakers, and Let’s Roam to let your employees know each other and form a strong team bonding.

donut

Does someone have a birthday? Use Tools such as HouseParty or Zoom to create a virtual video room so everyone can sing “Happy birthday!” when they join. Share sweet birthday greetings and wishes to make the person feel extra special.

Quick Fact: 87% of Slack users that say it improves their communication and collaboration inside their organization. (Source)

3. Conduct team-building activities daily

Encourage your remote employees to connect socially. Create a fun channel on your company’s messaging platform (Such as Slack or MS Teams) to have water-cooler and fun conversations only. 

At Springworks, we have a #random channel on Slack, where we do fun and random conversations, including:

  • Cooking or baking.
  • TV shows and movies.
  • Sports and fun activities.
  • Sharing workspace photos.
  • Sharing childhood pics.

Check out our recent fun video series:

Or host a virtual lunch hour where everyone can log in and savor their meals together. It’s a good way to make them feel they’re not alone.

You can also play virtual games and quizzes daily. These activities are quick and make your employees feel relaxed.

Use tools such as Trivia, which virtually allows remote teams within a Slack workspace to play 1000s of quizzes right inside Slack! These activities will bring social and fun to your workspace.

trivia

Quick Fact: More than half of remote employees say they feel disconnected from in-office employees. (Source)

4. Ask them to take regular breaks

A healthy schedule includes breaks. Most of us are unaccustomed to looking at a screen for eight hours straight. Remote employees may feel guilty if they log out when there’s still work to be done or if they take a break. 

This inability to unplug can negatively affect the mental health of remote workers. They may burn themselves out.

Help your employees to achieve work/life balance by encouraging them to take regular breaks to stretch, walk around, or get a healthy snack.

Tools such as Brain.fm, Calm, and Headspace will help them to reduce their stress level and boost their mood.

Quick Fact: 37% of remote workers stay productive by taking breaks. (Source)

5. Check-in with them regularly

When employees have less communication with their teammates, it can make them feel worried about their performance, confused and disconnected. Managers should check-in with their team to keep everyone in the loop.

See how everyone is doing. Schedule a team check-in at the start of every new week. Ask their experiences on how life is at home and what’s keeping everyone busy once work is done for the day. 

Encourage small-talk and personal conversations during work meetings. It’s a great way to know your employees’ personalities.

Quick Fact: 20% of remote workers identify communication as an obstacle.

6. Help them upgrade their home office

There is a strong correlation between your workspace and environment around you, and your ability to be productive and happy when working. 

Poorly designed workspaces can make us hostile, less collaborative, and we do not function and learn.

The workspace should be pleasing and functional. It needs to work and make you psychologically comfortable.

How can you help your remote team to set up a beautiful workspace?

At Springworks, we offer amazing perks to our employees to buy amazing furniture,  standing desks, headphones, and the Internet. And we get lots of responses from our employees about how they’ve been managing, how they’ve upgraded their home office, things they’re doing to keep productive.

workspace

Quick Fact: 65% of employees say a better work environment improves their performance.

7. Encourage Physical Fitness

Studies show that physical exercise boosts mood, relieves anxiety, and improves sleep.

In fact, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

Encourage your people to do some exercise, walking, stretching, and Yoga daily. You can offer a wellness stipend, which can be used for anything from yoga classes to gym equipment. You can also gift fitness trackers to remote employees.

At Springworks, we have “Walking Challenge” – we reward the employee with the highest number of step count with a gift card.

Here’s the announcement of this challenge from our CEO:

walking challenge

Quick Fact: Only 42% of employers offer a wellness program. (Source)

8. Help them decide their working hours

People may have to balance their family or housework with their work. Allow them flexible work hours (let them decide their working hours).

It will establish the boundary between work life and home life. You must encourage your team to develop healthy boundaries between home and office.

Ask them to update their start and end hours in the company’s messaging platform (Slack or MS Teams) so their colleagues can see their availability.

See how I update my working hours in Slack.

schedule

Quick Fact: 90 percent of employees say that flexibility in their work arrangements contributes to their morale. (Source)

9. Appreciate and reward good work

When remote employees don’t get feedback, they could feel confused, disconnected, and lose motivation. You must appreciate their good work.

It’s all about telling them that you notice and appreciate their efforts and work. It could be a simple thank you note or a simple message on the company’s messaging platform or a shout out in an email.

You can also give them gift cards or monetary bonuses as rewards.

At Springworks, we encourage peer-to-peer recognition and bonuses. Recently I got a special Amazon gift voucher for completing a task:

giftcard

Quick Fact: When asked what leaders could do to improve engagement, 58% of professionals endorsed giving recognition.

10. Send surveys to know their mental health

Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable discussing mental health or personal struggles. They don’t want to bother their manager or CEO with personal problems.

You can check on their mental health by sending remote employee pulse surveys every month. Consider asking these types of questions:

  • Do you think your workload has increased or decreased since we went to mandatory WFH? (On a scale 1-10)
  • How do you deal with stress or anxiety?
  • Do you feel comfortable discussing your mental health with your manager? If not, why not?

These pulse surveys can help you to read your employees’ mental health and take preventive measures.

Quick Fact: 80% average completion rate for surveys shorter than 7 minutes. (Source)

11. Share helpful resources

To support the mental health of remote workers, share helpful resources with your employees. You can send it out monthly in a company-wide email and post it on your blog. 

Review and update the resource list to make sure all the stuff is up-to-date. At Springworks, we get amazing resources in our inbox.

resources

Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts that 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028. 

As an employer, it’s up to you to support every employee’s mental well-being. A healthy, happy employee boosts efficiency and attracts potential talents that your company is a great place to work.

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