Written by: Claire Elmes, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Remote working has become second nature in our current climate with many companies opting to go fully remote or return to a hybrid way of working.
However, many staff are finding themselves working independently alone from their houses and missing some of the primary wellbeing elements of returning to the office.
So what steps can we as managers take to make employee wellbeing a priority within the workplace whilst remote working?
1. Check-in with Employees
How often do you check-in with your employees? Do you know their partner’s or children’s name? Do you know what they did last weekend? Line Managers should check-in with direct reports regularly, incorporating employee welfare into supervision and progress calls to ensure that they are able to access the support they require.
The nature of online working means there is an absence of office small talk that many rely on to get them through the workday, and instead employees are often working long hours alone from the bedrooms. It may be important to consider if your team has space to have the same outlet, by creating regular check-in spots and also team activities where employees can relax and engage in small talk if they wish.
A small difference to how you begin and end your meetings or online working day, can go a long way in helping your employees feel cared for and appreciated. Creating strong relationships with team members can ensure they feel valued and build the relationship. Why not check out an article I wrote about workplace relationships to get some more tips here.
2. Be Flexible and Inclusive
With the increase of remote working, it may be easier for your employees to work during the evenings or in the mornings to work around other commitments such as child care. How many times have you started work whilst remote working only to be called upon by your child? Do you have employees who have to work in the same room as their partner? Are employees struggling with self-isolation?
It is also important to consider all these factors, and the different environments that employees will be working in order to support them accordingly. For example, some employees may need more wellbeing or personal support than others, especially if they live alone and are working predominantly independently. It is important to be as flexible as you can around this, especially to those who are directly reporting to you.
All of these factors can have a huge impact on an employee’s wellbeing and consequently their performance at work, therefore if we use preventative supportive measures this can decrease the financial impact on the business.
3. Recognise what individual employees need and want
We all need something different when we are working, and this can be dependent on a number of factors including behavioural type. It is really important to recognise what others need in a relationship, and is the first step in supporting them effectively within their role. For example, some individuals may prefer to focus on team tasks, whereas others may prefer to work independently.
I’ve recently completed some training on using the DISC behavioural tool, to find out the different types of behavioural styles an individual may be and how to adapt approaches to best suit those with who I interact with. This can be extremely effective in helping manage teams, and identify where we may need to change our approach when working with particular individuals who may be a different behaviour style to yourself.
For example, I am motivated by collaboration and action so I tend to like to work with others etc. However, others may prefer a steadier-pace and maybe more task-focused. These are great skills to have, and it may be about adapting tasks so that they have more motivators within them to increase wellbeing.
4. Monitor and Model Healthy Behaviours
One thing that we don’t do enough as managers, is model healthy behaviours throughout work and encourage employees to do the same. How many times have we worked late or skipped through lunch in order to finish a task, completely dismissing our own personal boundaries? This can send a signal to others that this is expected or normal behaviour and encourage them to do the same even if this is a detriment to their own wellbeing.
It is important as managers to take work breaks ourselves, so that employees can see that we are actively taking steps to promote our wellbeing, as well as encourage others to take their own breaks.
Self-care strategies are also a great way to promote healthy behaviours, discussions such as what is one thing you are going to do for yourself tonight will enable you and your employees to think about how to care for yourself and your own needs outside and inside of work.
5. Create awareness of how to access further wellbeing support
Once you have implemented all of the things above, you may feel that you are on top of your wellbeing strategy ‒ however, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Most large organisations have some form of wellbeing strategy, such as Employee Assistance Programs that can help employees further with their wellbeing, and ensure that they are being supported outside of the workplace. It is important to consider where this information is available to employees, and how you can make this easily accessible to anyone who may be needing support. Recent research states that less than 8% of employees engage with these platforms.
It is also a great idea to have Mental Health First Aiders or Wellbeing Champions in the workspace so that there are designated individuals within your team that employees can talk to if they or someone else is struggling with their mental wellbeing.
There is a lot of information out there on how to increase employee wellbeing in your team, and it can often become overwhelming especially during the time that wellbeing is a huge priority.
We offer a Wellbeing Analysis where we have automated staff wellbeing assessments, meetings with focus groups and enable a clear strategy and recommendations to be established for the next 12 months.
Many owners are seeing the importance of this but don’t know where to start and don’t have the time. Let us help you to support your staff more efficiently. If you need some further support or guidance, why not book a free discovery call with me to discuss any options to increase wellbeing within your workspace.
Claire Elmes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Claire Elmes is the founder of Inspire You and is passionate about work-life balance. Having experienced burnout, Claire is dedicated to empowering people to work through stress and anxiety, traumatic life events, shift mindset, regulate emotions, gain clarity, and develop a stable routine. Through coaching and therapeutic techniques, Claire helps people tap into their potential and transform their lives for the better. Since Covid 19, Claire has recognized many companies are changing how they work and is supporting them to develop innovative well-being strategies to prevent staff burnout and help teams thrive, not survive. Claire provides companies with regular well-being support on a wide variety of topics such as: "How to avoid burnout", "How to make time in your week for what matters", "How to stop overthinking", "How to improve sleep", " How to manage imposter syndrome," "How to be the best version of you", to name just a few. Claire's mission is to empower the emotional well-being of staff and bring the fun back into work life.