How Remote Working is affecting Employee Wellbeing
Probably one of the biggest challenges of remote working is the isolation, which can have a huge impact on the mental health of employees. We are social beings, so it’s important for organisations to encourage and facilitate connectedness among remote workers through, for example, calls, video meetings, virtual coffee breaks, fun quizzes and regular non-work-related check-ins by managers.
It’s also vital for organisations to acknowledge that the stress, anxiety and uncertainty around COVID19, and the sudden switch to remote working, has really tested the mental health and resilience of employees. It’s important for them to promote mental wellbeing, increase awareness and reduce the stigma around mental health, for example with talks/webinars on mental health, and having internal mental health ambassadors.
Regarding physical health, remote workers are even more likely than in-office workers to “power through” and sit for long periods of time. Very simply, our bodies are designed to move, which is why sitting is described as “the new smoking”. Ideally, we should sit for no longer than 40 minutes, so remote workers need to be encouraged to take regular breaks from sitting, and to take a proper lunch break.
In terms of healthy eating, one of the biggest challenges of remote working reported to me is the proximity of the home workstation to the fridge/food cupboard! As employees’ daily routines – and therefore their normal eating habits – have been upended, now is the perfect time to educate employees about healthy eating at home, through for example nutrition talks/webinars.
Now, more than ever before, as employees adapt to remote working, organisations need to encourage and promote wellbeing. Healthy employees are more engaged, energised, focused and productive. Wellness initiatives and programmes should no longer be seen as a perk of the job, but as a strategic priority within any organisation.