Remote and homeworking are much more commonplace now, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. But, with this, keeping employees engaged and motivated from afar can be a struggle, especially with the general life and pandemic stresses thrown in the mix, too.
We’ve all been tested and pushed to extremes in ways that we have never experienced before in the past 12 months, but at a time where unemployment levels are rocketing, it is important to understand how to support your employee’s motivation levels, mental health and wellbeing, especially if they are working remotely.
Tackling Mental Health
As we navigate ourselves through the third lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are finding that this one, in particular, is much more difficult to cope with than the previous restrictions. With the winter months, cold weather, dark days and lack of interaction with others, this will, of course, have an impact on our mental health. If you have employees that are working from home, then they will likely be feeling the strain of this a lot more.
Long hours spent sitting in one place without the usual office chatter and interaction, as well as less physical activity, can lead to them feeling low. This can then cause them to feel unmotivated and uninterested in work, which will then go on to impact them further down the line. Figure out the best way to support your employees and allow them to get into a working routine which makes them feel more productive, whether this is flexible working hours, regular video meetings with other employees or even just a chat every now and then will do wonders.
Encourage Them To Create A Home Office
At a time where multiple members of their family may be working from home, it might be a little tricky for your employees to set up their own home office, but working from the dining room table or kitchen breakfast bar isn’t good for their productivity levels, or their back posture! Having somewhere which is your own when working from home can make a huge difference to your productivity levels and general wellbeing, so encourage your employees to set up a workspace away from the hustle and bustle of their homes.
Some workplaces are offering budgets for setting up a home workspace, giving reimbursements for desks and chairs that employees need to be comfortable. Additional things, such as plants, candles, diffusers and lamps can really transform a workspace and make it more comfortable and a much more motivating place to work. Even soft furnishings can make a huge difference to a home workspace, and adding allusion blinds, curtains or day and night blinds can have a huge impact on a space and make it feel more like a workspace rather than just a corner of the home, whilst also providing privacy and light filtration.
We spend a large amount of our time at work each week and, before the pandemic, we likely spent more time with our co-workers than we did with our families. As well as taking care of your work tasks and getting stuff done, you also likely bonded with your co-workers and shared a lot of moments and laughs with them.
This doesn’t need to be lost when you are working from home, although it can feel a lot more difficult, as you can’t have random conversations about good television shows, lunch plans or weekend updates as easily as you can in person. Try to set up some virtual social events after work, whether it’s a fun quiz, virtual cocktail making session - an hour spent having coffee, eating cake and chatting about anything other than work.
Your remote employees need to have different ways to bond, unrelated to work or workplace tasks. There are so many different virtual tools at our disposal now that there are plenty of ideas out there!
Make The Most Of Natural Light
Getting outside is hard enough in the “normal” winter months, but during this lockdown, where motivation and wellbeing have already taken a hit, many employees are finding it all the more difficult to get outside either before or after work. Going for a walk before work can be a struggle if they have to sort out home-schooling or childcare, whereas, by the time they’ve finished work for the day, it’s dark again - no one wants to go for a walk in the dark, cold and rain!
Reiterate the importance of getting natural light exposure to your employees, as it has such a huge influence on our mental health and wellbeing and is needed as part of our natural vitamin d production and consumption.
Whether your employees head for a walk during their dinner hour, reposition their desk or even just finish work a little earlier to make the most of the last few moments of daylight for the day, they will feel so much better for doing so. A good way to boost overall wellness and happiness is by repositioning their desk to be near a window, so that they can enjoy the daylight whilst working.