There may be light at the end of the tunnel, but the ongoing pandemic is still far from over, and it continues to highlight the need for long-term remote work. While there’s no denying the benefits of remote work, a lack of strategy, communication, and consistency can make it a lot harder to realize them. The fact is that many remote employees feel disconnected, while others struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
These issues existed before the pandemic, but they’ve been greatly intensified since. Remote workers often report feeling lonely and disengaged from their jobs. Others are experiencing a raft of mental and physical health challenges, compounded by rising economic uncertainty and social isolation. Employers now have to rethink how they approach remote work to ensure the well-being of their employees as well as the long-term success of their business.
Here are a few ideas on how you can reduce overall stress levels for your remote workforce:
1. Encourage employees to set boundaries
Remote work potentially affords a better work-life balance, but without some boundaries, the opposite can end up being true instead. After all, when you’re spending every working day in the same place you sleep and enjoy your private time, it’s often hard to switch off from work. Managers should actively encourage people to set schedules that suit them and avoid working beyond those.
2. Implement mental health support programs
Many industries have been decimated by the pandemic and the downturn that has followed it. Business leaders and employees alike face enormous challenges, hence the need for solidarity. Employers should strive to create a mentally safe workspace by giving easy access to the resources required to provide people with the necessary emotional support. This might include online workshops and webinars, chat- or email-based services, and even just regular virtual get-togethers that remind employees that they’re not as alone as they might think.
3. Maintain regular contact with your team
When creating a healthy remote work environment, building the right collaboration and communication infrastructure is every bit as essential as it was pre-pandemic. Simply relying on email or the occasional phone call isn’t going to overcome the physical disconnect. Instead, businesses need reliable collaboration platforms that allow for real-time communication, video meetings, and file sharing. Managers should encourage regular check-ins with their team members and maintain a consistent meeting schedule that ensures everyone’s on the same page, no matter where or how they’re working.
4. Deploy nonintrusive monitoring solutions
One of the most common fears managers have about enabling remote work is losing control over their employees. Remote work does introduce some unique challenges when it comes to matters like data security and employee productivity, and managers often worry employees aren’t going to be working as effectively. Monitoring solutions can overcome these challenges, but they should always be unobtrusive and based on regular feedback and clear communication. No one wants to be micromanaged or tirelessly observed at the best of times. It’s essential your approach to remote workforce monitoring focuses on its benefits to employees, rather than the business itself.
5. Reinforce your company culture
It’s far more difficult to maintain a strong company culture and employment brand with a distributed workforce, but there are many companies that have been doing it for years.
To ensure employees stay engaged with their jobs and, more importantly, happy to be doing what they do, you should constantly instill your company values and culture. For example, you could run regular virtual meetings and other events, which focus on team building and other employee-centric activities. Again, don’t make it all about the company; instead, make it about your people and how they work together as a group.
outsourceIT begins every client engagement by learning about your unique business needs and those of your employees. Contact us today to optimize your remote work strategies.