COVID-19 has not only changed how we visit our favourite neighbourhood store, but also how we interact with our employees and how we conduct business. The novel coronavirus has also caused many people to experience fatigue and anxiety. Not only has this pandemic caused economic unrest, but also causes the rise of mental health issues.
With COVID-19 on our radar for the foreseeable future, our offices will look a little different and working remotely will likely continue, if not become a permanent pivot point for organizations. It is imperative that employers highlight the importance of work-life balance with staff as managing stress and productivity has become a substantial focal point.
Here are a few tips to help you with remote working, stress management and anxiety:
Stay Connected – Even Virtually
Be sure to check in with your remote staff on a regular basis. Take note of any significant signs of stress, lower than normal productivity, fatigue etc.
Some staff may live alone making working from home even more isolating. Be sure to use your video conferencing software consistently. Schedule weekly or monthly socials, activities or Lunchtime Yoga to keep your entire team connected, even when apart.
Encourage your staff to socialize – implement a Slack channel or MS Teams chat that is strictly for socializing – NOT work! Allow your staff to start conversations whether it be about a recipe they’ve tried recently, a family photo, even make it fun by sharing their favourite meme.
We at Spark Safety do a Morning Check-In post on MS Teams, share exciting news in a ‘Bazinga’ channel, and recognize staff with Core Values nominations and prizes- all virtually!
It can be hard to work by your work station and not pop on the computer to check your emails – even harder when it’s in your home. Encourage your staff to take moments of self-care such as regular meals, hydration breaks, movement around the home and setting aside time for exercise and getting enough sleep.
Wellness & Office Resources
Working from home is new for almost everyone. Be sure that your employees have access to all the tools they need to work from home – such as how to make their home office a productive place to work and taking their own office ergonomics into account.
Be sure to educate yourself and staff on mental health and the available resources by all levels of government as well as local groups or non-profit organizations. Where possible providing them with links to resources.
Be as visible amongst your staff as possible. Hold regular meetings via video chat so they see you are accessible. Allow time for them to ask questions, recognize good work, and be a sounding board for hurdles they likely face. Encourage the ownership of their task and managing their time throughout the day but also holding them accountable with regular and achievable milestones.
Be in the Community
It can be hard to isolate and feel cooped up. Volunteering can help reduce stress while feeling a sense of giving back. It may also give your staff something to look forward to. It can be something like donating funds to their favourite charity, dropping PPE off at a hospital or nursing home, even running errands for elderly residents in their neighbourhood.