Staying Mentally Healthy When Working Remotely
Top Tips for looking after your home workers
- Check that they are working in a safe environment – Carry out a virtual risk assessment and check that people are aware of your health and safety guidelines.
- Time management – Help people to understand the importance of setting a working day start and finish time. Some managers may find this surprising, but more people work longer than shorter days when working from home.
- Don’t cultivate stress – Set clear expectations on what is to be delivered on a daily or weekly basis and check in to support frequently.
- Have a daily brief with the team – At some point in the day, preferably the morning, get the whole team together for a virtual catch up. Talk about the good things from the previous day and what they have on today. Try not to make this a competition for who can say they have the most work.
- Shoot the breeze – Spend some time just chatting about life in general, family, what they are up to, plans for the weekend, what box set is floating their boat. Just be human
- Let them know their contribution matters – Tell the team the difference they are making to the business. Working remotely can be lonely and without feedback work can be a thankless task.
- Trust people to get on with it – Different people have different views on working remotely. Research shows that because of less distractions (childcare permitting) people overall are more productive when they work from home. It is not for everyone though and if you are one of the people who struggle to work from home, don’t assume everyone is the same as you. Lots of people get more done.
- Have great conversations – The art of conversation is even more important when people are not in the office together. Mindset is different, things get lost in translation, especially in email, what might be water off a duck’s back to you could really upset someone else. So, face to face via Zoom, Teams, Skype, FaceTime – whatever keeps it as human as possible.
- Do not reward working long hours for the sake of it – We all know the person that doesn’t leave the office until after the boss has gone or sends the email at 2 in the morning. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Be sure that people are only the hours they need to get the job done. If you are happy to flex start and finish times, then that is ok. Presenteeism is the devil don’t let it happen.
- Be there – That’s it let people know the hours you are working and just be there for them to talk to. Being visible when people can’t see you is the most important thing you can do as a leader.