Our working life plays a big role in our mental health. It can be good for our wellbeing: giving us a sense of satisfaction, purpose and enjoyment, but it can also get on top of us. A negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems. In England, one in six people report a common mental health issue such as anxiety and depression, every week.
Depression and anxiety have a massive impact on the economy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that mental health issues cost the global economy US $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
As employers, we have a duty of care to do everything we can to support our employees’ health, safety and wellbeing – especially in times of uncertainty. Naturally, we want to protect our employees and make sure they maintain a healthy mind, but we also want them to work efficiently.
It is well known that workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.
There are many risk factors for mental health that may be present in the working environment. These may include:
- Inadequate health and safety policies
- Poor communication and management practices
- Limited participation in decision-making
- Low levels of support for employees
- Inflexible working hours
- Unclear tasks or organisational objectives
Remote Working – The Good and the Bad
Remote working can help to alleviate some of these issues and enables a whole host of added benefits. It can help to provide a better work-life balance, enable flexible working hours, take away the stressful commute, open up more job opportunities and give the recruiter a bigger talent pool to choose from.
On the other hand, remote working can go wrong. If not managed correctly, your employees can be left feeling lonely and isolated, lack motivation, find it difficult to unplug from work and, ultimately, struggle to keep a healthy mind and body.
In light of recent events, many of us have been forced into working remotely with little time to plan and prepare. Quickly throwing a remote working solution into place means that not everyone has the tools or policies they need to work efficiently. This could be having a negative effect on the mental wellbeing of your employees and affecting their ability to conduct their work. Therefore, it’s important to look at the common issues remote workers face, and put policies and tools in place to help.
How to Support Remote Workers and Their Mental Health
Below are the top issues that remote workers face, according to a study of remote workers conducted by Buffer, and how you can help overcome them:
- Unplugging After Work
- While working from home can help provide a better work-life balance, it can be difficult to separate the two when your home is also your office. 22% of remote workers said they had trouble “unplugging after work”.
- This can be a difficult issue to address. But the best thing you can do is support your staff in creating a dedicated workspace in their home. Try to put in place clear boundaries for when they are working and when they are not. Logging out or turning off notifications outside of work hours will also help, and make sure nobody is putting pressure on anyone to respond when they are not working.
- When working on your own, away from your team and other people that are normally buzzing around you in the office, it’s easy to feel isolated or lonely. 19% of remote workers surveyed said that loneliness was an issue for them.
- It’s easy to forget to check in on a colleague or employee when you are busy with your own work. It’s important to make communication a priority. Schedule regular video calls to catch up and check in with your employee’s wellbeing. This could be a purely social interaction or it could be tied into business updates or discussion. It’s easy to feel isolated or like you are not a part of the bigger picture, so do what you can to remind your employees that they are a valued member of your team.
- Collaboration and Communication
- Collaboration and communication are a key part of any business. When staff are unable to do this effectively, it has a negative impact on your business: it hinders new developments, impacts your company culture and, ultimately, harms revenue.
There are plenty of cost-effective collaboration and communication tools available that can keep your teams working together effectively. Cloud software, such as Horizon Collaborate, can help teams communicate with colleagues and customers quickly and efficiently across a range of different communications platforms. It can provide instant messaging, video calling, conference calls, document sharing and more form one user-friendly interface, keeping the lines of communication open and accessible.
Porthlas Can Help
Porthlas Communications provides free, impartial advice, every step of the way to help you find the best solution and can deliver the perfect cloud-based telephony and collaboration system with all the features necessary to foster a collaborative work environment.
Furthermore, many of the systems we offer can be deployed remotely. This means we can get you up and running quickly without needing to meet face-to-face or come into direct contact with anyone.
We understand that no two businesses are the same and use our knowledge and experience to deliver secure and reliable systems to help you provide your customers with an experience that is second to none.
Please feel free to drop us a line to discuss your needs in more detail.