Recent government guidance and the advancement in technology has left more employees working from home than ever before and while remote working can boost employee wellbeing by offering flexibility and freedom, on the other hand, working from home can be lonely and isolating among other risks.
According to the Mental Health at Work 2019 Report, 30% of the UK workforce have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. Typically, working from home involves lone working for majority of the day, which can cause employees mental health to suffer.
When working from home employees may experience common wellbeing problems, including:
Blurred boundaries between work and home life – It can be difficult to separate work and home life when your home doubles as your office, making it difficult to switch off and have the necessary breaks to stay refreshed.
Feeling isolated – Not being able to physically interact with other members of the team or business can lead remote workers to feel like they’re less a part of the organisation. It’s easy to forget to reach out and check on employees working from home.
Lack of motivation – Without a manager sitting nearby or other people around, some people might find it hard to motivate themselves to sit at their workstation and complete their tasks.
Lack of collaboration – Creativity is often encouraged by collaboration. When staff aren’t regularly interacting with, and challenging each other, it can impact the standard of the work that’s produced.
Mental wellbeing is intrinsically linked to happiness; to succeed, businesses need to make mental health a priority. It’s widely accepted that happy and engaged employees are more motivated and productive, moreover, sick leave and staff turnover are reduced.
Tips to Work Well from Home
Remote working for prolonged periods takes a lot of getting used to; however, there are some things you can do to look after your mental wellbeing as a lone worker.
Structure your day
Without travelling to and from work, it can be difficult to differentiate your work and home life. Building a routine can help to structure your day – for example, wake up at the same time you would if you were travelling to work and make sure you take your lunch break.
Mix up forms of communication
When working remotely, it’s easy to rely on text-based forms of communication such as emails and instant messaging, but they lack the interaction of verbal a conversation. Make sure to regularly make phone calls or participate in video chats. Managers could schedule a weekly video catch-up with some time set aside to discuss non-work-related items.
Ask “how are you?”
Take time to ask colleagues how they are, giving them an opportunity to share if they’re struggling. When someone asks how you are, lead by example and share how you’re feeling. Often, just the simple act of saying it out loud helps if you’re struggling and lets others know they can be honest with you too.