Over the past decade, companies have been shifting towards remote work. Since the pandemic started, more employees have begun working from home, and for many of them, it will be a permanent move.
Remote work has its benefits, a better work/life balance, no commute, working from the comfort of your own home, and increased productivity due to fewer workplace interruptions.
While remote work has its benefits, it also has a few downsides, including but not limited to isolation, negative impact on mental health, and communication challenges. Below we will address ways in which you can better support remote employees.
Limited Interaction with Co-workers
Monday morning chit-chat about the weekend or grabbing lunch with your colleague is a thing of the past for those working remotely.
Some companies have done a great job with the transition and keeping managers and colleagues in regular contact through team building activities like coffee/tea hour, where colleagues drop into a video meeting to chat about life outside of work. Online games have also helped those working remotely stay connected.
Due to the pandemic, it was the first time many employees worked from home 100% of the time, bringing the challenge of managing employees. Some were skeptical about remote work, not sure if they would enjoy it and how to stay in communication with their team. For those struggling with managing in a remote environment, a suggestion is to have a regular one-to-one meeting with each employee to discuss goals, performance, and productivity. Being consistent and showing up for your team during one-to-one meetings will help keep employees motivated and productive.
Declining Mental Health
For those living with a mental health condition or who have been negatively impacted by remote work due to limited interactions, there are options to support employees’ mental health.
One option is to offer peer-to-peer support through HeyPeers to better support employee’s mental health. Peer support is proven to help those that are facing emotional and behavioral healthcare challenges.
Peer Support has been shown to improve the quality of life, increase and improve engagement with services, and increase whole health and self-management. (Mental Health America, 2018). Peer Support decreases the severity and frequency of depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental and emotional health challenges. Our studies have shown that video-based peer support meetings can reduce the severity of depression, for example, by 33%. Multiple studies have demonstrated that peer support reduces hospital readmissions by as much as 72% resulting in significant cost savings for providers, payers, employers, and care management organizations.