How Employers Can Help Remote Employees
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty all around, employees look to their employers to provide insight and resources to help reduce stress and anxiety while working from home.
In just a matter of weeks, millions of employees have found themselves trading in their office environment for a workspace in their homes while limiting their outdoor activities. Lack of social interaction, combined with a typical workload, and uncertainty about the future, have led to skyrocketing stress levels for some. As an employer during this time, you can help your employees feel a sense of motivation and positivity.
Here are the top ways employers can help their employees reduce stress while working from home:
1. Check Health Insurance Coverage
Mental health services, often provided by health insurance companies, are excellent support for those having difficulty coping with the current pandemic.
Historically, mental and physical health care were covered differently by health insurance companies. More recently, with a push for mental health parity, or equal coverage for mental and physical health care, many health insurance companies are now offering services for psychological well-being.
Check your company's health insurance and the range of services provided to your employees. If mental or behavioral health services are offered, be sure to communicate this to your employees and let them know how to access services.
2. Offer an EAP
Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, are voluntary work-based wellness programs designed to help employees resolve issues impacting their emotional and mental well-being. EAPs are meant to assist employees with problems that may be affecting their work performance.
During this crisis, emotions may be difficult to process and express. Offering an EAP to your employees is an excellent way to give them the assistance they need to navigate through these times. It may also help to keep them on track and motivated to work.
Unlike mental health services offered through health insurance, EAPs often provide a more comprehensive range of services such as marriage and family therapists, attorneys, financial advisors, elder and childcare specialists, and more. EAPs serve a powerful purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic, but its services will benefit employees in the future as well.
3. Encourage Movement
The serotonin-boosting benefits of exercise are widely known and proven, but when outdoor and public activities are restricted, it makes exercising more difficult. Although many states currently permit outdoor recreational activity consistent with social distancing guidelines, the anxiety of going outdoors, and the monotony of a stationary life may leave your employees feeling unmotivated.
Encourage your employees to spend their free time away from their workspace. Promote stepping outdoors for fresh air or a few minutes dedicated to stretching. Before or after the workday, suggest your employees exercise outdoors while keeping their distance or take advantage of virtual health and wellness classes. Many are currently free. Research shows exercise has a profoundly positive impact on mood and well-being, which can help employees to remain healthy while enduring this global pandemic
4. Promote Normal Working Hours
When your employees' workspace and home suddenly become one, it may become difficult for them to set boundaries and unplug. Remote work eliminates the "packing up" at the end of the day and saying goodnight to co-workers with the incentive of heading home to unwind.
Working and relaxing now happen in the same place.
For your employees to maintain sanity and an appropriate work-life balance, encourage them to stick to their normal work hours. When the clock hits closing time, they should close up their computers and spend the evening relaxing and caring for themselves.
5. Keep Communication Frequent
If the fear of a global pandemic wasn't enough, adding feelings of isolation can increase stress and anxiety. The luxury of popping into a teammates' workspace to ask a quick question, or even socializing about weekend plans are gone while working from home. That makes it more critical than ever to stay connected and promote frequent communication.
Try implementing a weekly company-wide email strategy that aims to check-in with employees, provides company news, and lightens the mood. Have departments implement a chat platform to communicate with one another quickly. Promoting department-wide daily or weekly meetings is an excellent way for your team to stay connected on projects and discuss any assistance they may need from one another.
We're living in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. There's a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety around our current state and what's to come. A great employer will be mindful of the safety and well-being of their employees, more than ever before. Following these five tips will not only help your remote employees reduce stress, but they will also help your team wind up stronger together in the end.