5 Ways to Improve your Global Team‘s Mental Wellbeing from Home
Combatting lockdown fatigue and supporting the wellbeing of your workers
Nearly one year on from the UK’s first national lockdown, remote work continues to be a hot topic in the world of business. In our recent blog post, we discussed how the prospect of working from home is becoming a permanent transformation for many global-leading companies, including Google and Salesforce.
With some corporations taking the shift in their stride, others are left questioning whether a future of working from home could be detrimental to the mental wellbeing of their workforce.
Covid-19’s disruption to normality has caused a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of many across the globe. The initial rush of adrenaline that motivated people when restrictions were introduced has now subsided, and fatigue is in its place.
A year on, the daily challenges of working from home, exercising and home schooling have become increasingly difficult as productivity levels decline. Research by YouGov shows 65% of people admit that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. With feelings of stress and uncertainty running high, the mental, physical and emotional strain cause a widespread longing for a life before Covid-19. So how do we adapt to this?
Importance of Mental Health in the Workplace
In the past, the importance of mental health was often overlooked due to the complexity of understanding its various symptoms. Though the awareness of mental health is increasing, 1 in 6 adults continue to suffer with at least one mental health condition and this does not cover the many individuals who feel reluctant to talk about their mental state.
Time to Change, a mental health anti-stigma campaign, conducted a survey of over 4,000 UK adults and found 51% of respondents said they would rather avoid talking to anyone if they were struggling with their mental health – even if it would help. This fear of discrimination emphasises the importance of creating a comfortable working environment and culture, where your colleagues are provided with support mechanisms to maintain a positive mental state.
At Mauve, we have twenty-five years of experience in managing a global, largely remote workforce – and the wellbeing of our partners, clients, workers and internal staff is our utmost priority. Not only does considering the mental wellbeing of our colleagues improve work culture, but research shows it can increase employees’ productivity by 12%.
Prioritising solutions to improve the general work life of your employees will have an overall positive impact on your business – so we’ve compiled our top 5 tips to improve your global team’s mental wellbeing from home.
- Structure Your Days
In lockdown, it is very easy to lose track of time. A repetitive routine within the constraints of your own home is enough to blur each day into the next.
A lack of structure to your day can often result in a sense of missing purpose, which in turn can negatively affect your drive and motivation towards your workload. To enhance the productivity of your team, you should consider integrating organisational practices into your working days.
For example, creating timetables, presenting daily/weekly goals and adopting a shared calendar that is accessible to the relevant team members are extremely efficient approaches to organising your shared time. By providing employees with a specific focus, each employee will regain that sense of purpose and understand what is expected of them on a regular basis.
From a manager’s perspective, the utilisation of a structure will allow you to monitor the work and availability of your team with ease, reducing stress and saving time in communication.
Communicate Effectively and Consistently
Communicating effectively and consistently is an essential requirement for any successful business. For many of us, the circumstances that come with remote working means communication is more critical than ever before. You may find that working from home can lead you into your own bubble – team communication might become less frequent and general updates are harder to share.
A lack of communication across the business can cause individuals to disassociate from the team and lose track of business objectives. This can decrease the quality of your employees’ work – resulting in avoidable distress.
Fortunately, this year we’ve learnt the importance of video calling, allowing us to simulate in-person meetings from any location. Utilising these facilities on a consistent basis will ensure a clear understanding of business activities and provides employees the opportunity to stay in touch.
Introducing an enterprise-wide social networking service such as Yammer or Slack will also allow your employees to stay connected with their team members and boost your work culture.
Check in with Colleagues on a Personal Level
When discussing the importance of mental health in the workplace, we addressed how individuals often feel reluctant to talk to anyone when they are mentally struggling – that is why this point is vital in helping the wellbeing of your colleagues.
Some employees will be living alone, some might be living in hostile environments, some may be suffering over the loss of a loved one and others may be juggling their workload with young children. For these individuals, feelings of loneliness, stress and concern may have surfaced. Being unable to talk about these struggles will not only result in a spiral of negative emotions and reduce the quality of their work.
Taking 10 minutes to simply ask how your colleague’s day is going could go a long way. Whether it is asking if they are coping well at home, or a quick conversation about the series they are watching on Netflix – social interaction is a necessity in any area of life and is an effective way of reducing negative thoughts.
If, however, you notice your colleague’s wellbeing may be wavering, it is important to address this and explore methods that could improve their state of mind.
Provide Support to Those Who Need it
Individuals display suffering in different ways – some may seem a little quieter in conversations, some will show signs of worry over small tasks and others will work longer hours to distract themselves from the pressures of their personal lives. Whatever the situation is, having support mechanisms in place to relieve your employees is necessary.
Can you adjust your employee’s hours to suit the home schooling of their children? Could you organise an extra meeting a week with your employee who is living on their own? Could you provide external support from an expert to an employee who is suffering with deeper mental health issues?
Unfortunately, not every solution will be within the capabilities of your business. However, any support that you can provide your team will certainly encourage a healthier environment within your (virtual) workplace.
Organise Group Activities
Team morale is an essential factor in any company. With employees working from home, many individuals are concerned about the lack of social interaction in their current remote working lives.
Organising virtual team-building activities is a brilliant way to ensure your colleagues stay connected and perhaps encourage a positive, active lifestyle. Activities also provide employees the opportunity to relieve their minds of a stressful day at work and return with a clear and can-do mindset.
At Mauve, we love to organise virtual activities for our team. Since the beginning of the first lockdown, our Ireland Country Representative and qualified yogi Teresa Lewis has hosted a free yoga session every Wednesday at 6pm (GMT) for employees, friends, partners and clients alike. Your team are welcome to join – click here for details.
For more advice on how to adapt and improve mental wellbeing and remote working for your employees, click here to get in touch – we would be happy to help!