4 Ways to Support Staff Mental Health
Managers can adopt these tips to ensure that each staff is physically and mentally at their best while they remain effective team leaders.
It has been more than a year since COVID-19 changed the way businesses operate, but that doesn’t mean the problems caused by the lockdowns have entirely gone away. For example, proper team communication may still be a matter that many offices try to wrestle with amidst on-and-off lockdowns that many world governments had to impose at the height of the pandemic.
With the way the global economy is set up, a complete freeze of all economic activities is unadvisable. As such, the main approach almost every industry utilized in response to the pandemic is remote work. This form of work setup allows companies to continue operating. Remote work also gives employees a steady source of income they can use for daily expenses, especially since the pandemic spiked up the prices of goods and services.
However, even the most flexible and forward-thinking managers will admit that working outside the office leaves a lot to be desired. Therefore, companies that want to optimize their productivity in these conditions should educate themselves on what affects their employees’ performance.
By being aware of the common problems that pop up during remote work, company managers can establish measures that will combat these problems and create a highly motivated workforce.
Common Problems Encountered When Working Remotely
The biggest and most obvious obstacle to total efficiency in an office operating from a work-from-home setting is the widespread blurring of work-life balance. Working from a personal space meant for relaxing after business hours has made it difficult for employees to navigate through the new normal. Non-work distractions may take their attention throughout the day.
Another significant problem brought about by a remote office is the feeling of loneliness or isolation. Things that brought colleagues together pre-pandemic—conversations at the water cooler and eating out during lunch break—have suddenly seemed far-fetched as employees could no longer have those forms of social interaction due to COVID-related restrictions.
These problems contribute to the overall mental health deterioration among innumerable employees. If left unchecked, these mental health issues could hurt the overall team morale and slow down production even further.
4 Ways to Support Your Staff’s Mental Health
A well-functioning organization in today’s challenging times requires so much more than encouraging your team to stay safe at home as they work. It’s vital to give them the right environment by considering their mental health. A motivated workforce is a productive one, after all.
Since every team is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for employee management programs. However, managers can adopt these tips to ensure that each staff is physically and mentally at their best while they remain effective team leaders.
1. Plan for distractions
Telecommuting is a tricky endeavor, so management should accept that disruptions will be part of the process. However, planning around these disruptions is a viable solution.
For example, an essential member of the sales team has construction noises happening in the background at a specific time of day. This problem can be remedied by either arranging sales meetings around their schedule or providing them with the necessary equipment to do their work efficiently.
Guiding employees on what to do during unexpected breaks or disruptions will help them ease their minds and regain focus on their work more easily.
2. Encourage the staff to take breaks
Not many employees can handle working in the same place they like to relax in, and this can cause unnecessary stress. Mental breakdowns among the staff are the last thing any company needs in the current global situation.
Management should remind their employees through every communication channel that they are more than encouraged to take breaks whenever needed. It’s an excellent move to make the team feel that they are more than just people that work for the company.
Of course, this should also apply to the people steering the boat. What good would it be for your team members if the management is stressed beyond relief?
3. Establish avenues for physical activity
Being cooped up indoors for extended periods is already an unhealthy lifestyle choice, and the additional burden of bringing work home will only increase people’s cabin fever even more. Avoid any possibility of this happening by encouraging the team to be physically sound.
Since exercise helps reduce stress, it would be a good idea to engage everyone in online physical activities that could get the blood pumping. It will also provide a much-needed break from the monotony of work. Here, you need to be creative and considerate so that employees can freely choose their activities.
4. Coordinate with employees on other steps to take
Since the employees are the backbone of the company’s operations, it’s vital to get their input on how the workflow should run while everyone is still working from their own homes. In addition, they have unique perspectives that the upper management might easily miss out on.
Moreover, this strategy can give employees a deep sense of appreciation knowing that company leaders value their ideas. The result is highly motivated workers providing quality work.
How to Be a Good Manager During a Pandemic
The solutions suggested above can provide significant support for employees working from home. However, the same actions would be useless if company leaders only looked at the numbers and didn’t consider their employees’ condition. Therefore, it’s just as important that the management demonstrates genuine concern for the well-being of their workforce. Here are vital things to keep in mind:
● Flexibility is one of the most critical qualities managers should have during a remote work setup. Not everyone has a work-friendly environment at home, so it’d be wrong to expect perfection every time. However, being understanding when team communication isn’t always clear can go a long way.
● Managers of telecommuting employees should also look at enacting one small change at a time. Forcing the team to adopt a workflow without any immediate preparation will only result in more mistakes that affect the bottom line. Instead, implementing changes should be gradual. This way, the team will be able to keep productivity up.
● Finally, empathy is what will help managers bring the best out of their team. It would be safe to assume that not all of the staff will have an ideal working situation at home. Being mindful and understanding of what employees are going through in this pandemic will help foster a kinder and more caring working environment.
If managers and company leadership adopt a mindset based on the aforementioned qualities, it shouldn’t take long before you see excellent results on the bottom line. Employees who feel they are cared for would be willing to go the extra mile.
Every company faces unique problems and situations, and not all of them can be easily solved by simply following the suggestions made in this article. However, these pointers should help leaders holistically manage their teams during these unprecedented times.
After all, a company is made up of people. If given the right environment to thrive — one where they feel supported, valued, and recognized — they will be able to cope and perform better, ultimately achieving the goals they’ve set for their personal and professional growth. The success of the company shouldn’t be far behind.