Working from Home - Supporting Staff with their emotional wellbeing

Working from home has become the new normal over the past year as businesses were forced to adapt their operations last march as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have reaped the benefits of more flexible working patterns; however, research has shown that staff who are working remotely have been struggling now more than ever with mental health issues as a result of isolation, loneliness, and burnout.

It is important that employers and those managing teams remotely are aware of how they can proactively support workers in need of additional support and are regularly checking on the mental health of their employees.

How employers and managers can remotely support staff who may be struggling:

  • Create a supportive and open environment. Create an environment where employees know they can contact their manager or speak to colleagues if they are struggling with their mental health or with their workload.
  • Tackle the stigma around Mental Health. Invite employees to webinars or training sessions lead by experts in mental health to help educate them on signs that may indicate they are struggling with their mental health, and the ways of which they can reach out for help.
  • Strongly encourage a positive work-life balance to help avoid burnout. Where many employees are now working where they live and living where they work, it is important they are able to split their personal and work life effectively to avoid blurring the lines.
  • Create Wellness Action Plans with your team. The mental health charity Mind have created free guides for managers who may want to introduce Wellness Action Plans to help support their team. You can access the free guide for line managers here.
  • Ensure effective virtual communication across your team. Adapting to methods of virtual communication successfully is key to keeping in contact with employees and to ensure communication flows throughout your team. It is important to have the right technology to hold regular staff meetings to keep employees up to date on any news, changes or to discuss any issues.
  • Strong and compassionate leadership. Listen, be attentive and empathise with employees who may be struggling. It is important employees know that problems they face will be treated with compassion and that they can seek help if needed.
  • Increase opportunities for social interactions to help avoid isolation. Schedule end of week team catch-ups or organise virtual social events for employees to socialise with each other and take part in activities. Encourage inclusivity by inviting staff on furlough along too.

It is important to remember that employees with good mental health and work-life balance are more likely to perform better, more productive, and are more engaged in their work. Employers should ensure they have strategies in place to commit to educating their workforce on Mental Health and supporting those who may be struggling.

Mental health resources available to employers and managers can be found here:

If your business could benefit from support or advice on remote working, flexible working patterns, employee wellbeing or wider HR support, contact the team at [email protected], we will be happy to help!

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