Why employee wellness should be your #1 priority
In only a matter of weeks, working from home has become the new normal for many – but life is now far from normal. And after an initial phase of rapid adjustment – and for those of us who still have a job – the reality of this new way of working is beginning to sink in. During what we’re now calling Phase Two of remote working during the COVID-19 crisis, we need to reset expectations and examine how wellness will play a major role in maintaining performance throughout this period.
In the last week or so, the conversations during our FlexReady remote working training sessions have shifted from practical concerns to asking if our participants are settling in to their new remote working environments.
And the answer is – overwhelmingly – that employees are not settling into or coping with the emotional demands of remote working at all.
The most common feedback from employees within organisations that have only recently moved to remote working is that they are overwhelmed with endless online meetings and unprecedented volumes of emails – to such an extent that these communications are reducing the time available to actually complete any deep work. Some employees feel they are working even longer hours than pre-COVID-19 as early mornings and late evenings are the only times to catch up.
Employees are also struggling to find dedicated workspaces to work productively, away from family or partners also working from home. And parents in particular are feeling overwhelmed with dual demands on their time, made worse by a lack of understanding from their managers on how to make this juggle work. In many cases, managers are not re-setting expectations on availability throughout the day, or clarifying exactly what tasks needs to be completed as a priority and by when.
There are therefore three important coping strategies managers need to implement as a matter of urgency during this next phase of mandatory remote working:
Focus on outcomes
Rather than expect set hours each day, managers need to focus on results and outcomes. Determine what meetings are essential, who needs to attend and what time suits everyone. And then, as long as external stakeholders are not impacted, talk to your team about completing their work whenever suits them. If you are new to managing people remotely, you need to let go of traditional ways of working. Just because you cannot see your employees does not mean they are not working. You need to trust in their ability to deliver and measure performance on results and outcomes.
Focus on workforce planning
Many employees are no longer able to work in the same way as they did before and they now need options. Have conversations about re-thinking and re-designing these roles. Focusing on workforce planning is crucial but it also needs to include a focus on psychological safety. Make sure your employees feel there is a safe space for them to really tell you what is going on at home. And then work out a strategy to help them overcome their challenges and maintain productivity.
Focus on wellness
Now more than ever, protecting the mental health of your employees is essential. You need to dedicate a team or teams responsible for building a tailored remote wellness program if you have not done so already. Executives need to share and role model how they are taking the time to look after themselves. Encourage employees with the relevant skills to take the lead on virtual wellness sessions or organise company supported yoga, pilates and mindfulness classes.
Protecting mental health is also about managing business continuity. Look after your employees now to make sure everyone comes back healthy and well when this crisis is over.
FlexReady Employee Wellness Session
At FlexCareers we understand the intersection of remote work and wellness, and how the two support each other. And that’s why we have launched a new remote wellness training session for your employees.
This short and impactful session provides your teams with the tools and techniques to look after their wellbeing while working remotely. They will walk away with one action and one insight that they can implement immediately.
The session covers the following topics:
- The foundational elements of wellbeing – nutrition, sleep and exercise
- The foundational elements of mental fitness – self-talk and self-compassion
- How to set boundaries and calm overwhelm, anxiety and stress
- How to foster and maintain connection with others
- The importance of kindness and compassion to others
- The importance of gratitude
- Practical grounding and breathing techniques
Do you have a sense of how your teams are coping remotely? We can help your teams maintain performance by giving them pragmatic, simple and tangible strategies through our remote working and wellness training.
Contact us to get started.