With long-term working from home policies now in place, it’s important that employees’ mental and physical wellbeing continues to be looked after.
There are many considerations when employees are working from home to ensure they are equipped to work productively, to look after their health and to ensure they remain engaged throughout a challenging time.
Here are our top tips on how to look after your employees when they’re working remotely:
Communicate with colleagues
Make sure you are connecting with your employees. Keeping communication open and chatting on instant messenger is easier than ever with apps such as Slack, Skype and Microsoft Teams. However, it’s important to also have regular phone check-ins and video calls, to try and replicate face-to-face contact as closely as possible and reduce feelings of isolation.
Here at Urban, for example, our teams are all taking part in a 15-minute ‘daily stand-up’ video call. This gives each team member the chance to share what they’re working on, request any assistance they may need. It’s also a great way of just checking in on one another and asking how everyone is coping.
Get them set up correctly
It’s important to ensure that employees have set up their dedicated home-working space correctly in order to avoid musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders or aches and pains developing. This can happen from prolonged working whilst sitting incorrectly. As an employer, it would be valuable to offer comprehensive guidance for employees that request it on how best to do this.
Encourage daily routines
Having routines set in place is key to separating work and home life. When working from home, it’s easy to lose track of regular routines. But it’s important to make sure employees are working set hours rather than overworking, which can cause burnout. If possible, working from a separate space to where they would normally relax (such as the living room or bedroom) helps to draw these boundaries. Where this isn’t possible, it’s important to ask them to shut away their laptop and any other work equipment and keep it out of sight outside of working hours.
Ensure they take regular breaks
Encourage employees to stick to their routine when they’ve found what works best for them. It’s easy to forget to take regular breaks away from the screen or a full lunch break when working at home. However it’s imperative to working productively, particularly during long periods of remote working.
Get them moving
Keeping active when working in isolation can be tricky, but it’s key to make sure employees are stretching and moving regularly for their physical and mental wellbeing. A great way to do this is to get them taking part in virtual classes. Teams could also work together to complete a fitness challenge together to encourage collaboration. Perhaps you could even set up a competition between colleagues to get everyone involved.
Here at Urban, we’ve set up our own fitness and health challenges via Slack. Points are awarded for each activity to encourage a little bit of healthy competition and motivation!
Working from home for prolonged periods can get lonely. Make sure you create a two-way dialogue with employees and respond to any concerns or challenges they are facing. Provide a supportive network and prepare for the mental health implications of working in isolation. Consider offering access to meditation and mindfulness services, or even one-to-one counselling.
Join the Workplace Wellbeing Community on LinkedIn – a dedicated forum for HR and wellbeing professionals – to follow discussions on how to best cater for this new world of working.