In 2019, only 30 percent of the UK workforce had worked from home, according to statistics from the Office of National Statistics. Fast forward to the current day, millions of UK workers are now working from home due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, businesses across the country have had to adapt their employee policies to support a remote workforce, including updating their employee wellness policies to protect and keep their employees happy. Employee wellbeing has taken a front seat during this rapid swap to a predominantly work-from-home workplace culture. More British workers are dealing with online meeting fatigue while 50 percent of them admit to being stressed, making it even more imperative that companies implement remote working friendly employee wellness policies sooner rather than later.
The Need For Employee Wellness Policies For a Remote Workforce
The sudden shift from an office-based work environment to working from home can be a huge change and stressor for many families. In the 2019 State of Remote Work report, 49 percent of workers said their largest issue with working from home was wellness related. Approximately 22 percent admit to feelings of loneliness and isolation while 9 percent experience a loss of motivation which can impact their job productivity.
Schedule Regular Employee-Supervisor Check-In Video Chats Or Phone Calls
Working from home can be a double-edged sword for many employees. While two-thirds of employees can work well from home, a recent Gallup study also showed that a remote workforce is likely to feel isolated and lonely. To combat this, a regular ongoing flow of communication is key. Schedule weekly team meetings and one on one employee check-ins to allow employees to voice any concerns or difficulties they may be experiencing. This also gives supervisors a chance to provide handy pointers to employees finding it difficult to adjust to working from home or offer additional support if needed. Ideally, a weekly on-site team meeting would help but in the current climate, video or weekly phone calls are a good substitute. Adding a personal touch is crucial to the success of this policy.
Include Mental And Physical Health Employee Benefits
With the mental health implications of remote working being repeatedly shown, providing mental health resources and tools for your employees is crucial in helping them cope with any mental health challenges they face. Start with scheduling regular employee wellbeing newsletter providing information on mental health resources and tools. In these times, home and financial stressors can also be heightened so including information or discounted training courses on money and debt management can also prove to be highly beneficial.
Employee wellness communications can also be used to encourage workers to pursue hobbies like art or gaming to encourage employee socialisation during COVID-19. Researchers found that 55 percent of gamers play video games to relieve stress while 47 percent say gaming can impact other aspects of their lives. Whether it is running weekly employee gaming and quiz nights or providing information on ongoing forums and competitions for interested employees, it can provide a much-needed stress relief outlet. Lastly, be sure to include access to mental health resources such as online or over the phone counselors as a part of your employee health benefit package. Employing or outsourcing a company wellbeing officer is another great initiative that can encourage good mental health amongst your workforce.
Make Use Of Collaborative Tools For Engaging Your Remote Workforce
When it comes to working from home, technology has certainly made it easier for both employees and businesses. The market is now filled with collaborative tools for a remote workforce like Slack, Trello, and Asana that allows your employees to interact and exchange ideas just as if they were in the office. It also helps to establish a similar employee work pattern, aligning everyone’s working hours and boosting overall productivity. After choosing a team collaboration software, encourage all employee communications to be done there. You can even consider setting up a watercooler thread/channel to encourage an employee to employee communication during break times. It fosters a team feeling and helps to improve productivity by holding everyone accountable.
Success for a company no longer centers around profits and productivity; it also includes retaining a healthy and happy workforce. Having the right employee wellness policies in place can help a business achieve this- regardless of the employee location setup. For now, working from home seems to be the new norm for most of the workforce. In the midst of it all, companies should not forget to update the employee wellness approach. Take care of their employees so they can take care of you.