How to Support Mental Health in the Virtual Workplace

Remote work has become the new normal for many companies. But despite being more than two years past the onset of the pandemic, many workers are still struggling to find work-life balance in the virtual workplace and take care of their mental health. For companies that intend to continue working remotely, supporting employee mental health must be a top priority.

How can you provide support for your remote team when you don’t have the benefit of face-to-face communication? Let’s explore some ideas.

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What Leads to Poor Mental Health for Remote Workers?

Remote work has become an increasingly popular way to work, with employees spending more and more time working from home. While there are many benefits to remote work, it can also lead to poor mental health for employees.

 One key factor is isolation. When employees work from home, they can often feel forgotten about or hidden from their colleagues and friends. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can impact mental health.

 Another key factor is the lack of social interaction that can occur when working remotely. When employees are in an office environment, they often have regular interactions with their colleagues. This social interaction is important for overall mental health. When employees are working remotely, they may miss out on this important social interaction.

 Additionally, remote workers can often feel overwhelmed when working from home. When employees are in an office environment, they get used to a routine. This routine can help them feel more comfortable. When employees are working remotely, they may not have that same routine. Employees who work from home may be constantly interrupted by family and friends when at home. Or, chores at home might fight for their attention, causing them to feel stressed or burdened by non-work-related things.

 There is no single thing that can cause a decline in mental health when working remotely. Every person is different. But employers that take the time to recognize the signs and be proactive about supporting mental health will be in the best position to make a real difference.

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5 Ways to Promote Better Mental Health at Work

While there is no single solution for promoting better mental health at work, there are a few great places that leaders can start. Here are a few ideas you can put into action today.

 

Set Start and End Times

Employees are too often praised for burning the midnight oil. Others feel pressured to keep up, which can lead to feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. In fact, 65% of workers say they work more hours remotely than they did in the office.

 One way to combat this is to set start and end times to the workday. When working from home, employees often work longer hours because they don’t have a normal commute. They feel they have to prove their productivity and don’t want to seem like they’re only doing the minimum.

 Being strict about not working late can help them feel empowered to take care of their mental health and not push themselves more than they already are.

Don’t Text or Email After Hours

Another simple thing that company leaders can do is respect each employee’s time off the clock. Even if you don’t expect a reply, refrain from calling, texting, or emailing after hours.

Employees may feel pressured into responding, and doing so can interrupt their personal time and take away from their time to refresh themselves for the next day.

Offer Flexible Work Locations

Remote work isn’t for everyone. One way companies can overcome this is to offer employees the option of working in the office or paying for a coworking space. This gives employees more places they can work, especially if they are sharing their home office with a spouse or have other family members at home which makes it difficult to focus.

Provide Mental Health-Related Perks

Many companies have been rethinking their job perks in the last couple of years. They’re trading office ping pong tables and pizza on Fridays for things like yoga classes, gym app memberships, and mental health counseling.

Now is a great time to reexamine the perks and benefits you’re offering that can support remote employees’ mental health. Ask your employees what perks they might like to see in the next benefits package that they would actually use and benefit from.

Check In with Each Employee

The single best way to know how your employees are feeling is to ask them. Make it a priority to check in with each employee on a regular basis to talk about their needs. Ask how you can support them. Learn what they’re struggling with. Then tailor a solution that works best for them. This might be adjusting their work schedules, offering paid time off, or something else that’s meaningful to them.

At HiTouch Business Services, we’re helping companies work better remotely with customized IT solutions that work the way you do. Contact us today to learn more!

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