How to Support Employees' Mental Health Remotely

Supporting remote workers against isolation and burnout enhances both employee experience and productivity. With a considerable number of individuals working remotely or in hybrid setups, employers must adapt their daily operations to accommodate a dispersed workforce. 

Safeguarding the mental health of remote employees poses a significant challenge, requiring employers to identify signs of issues and provide support across different locations and time zones. This blog, Recruitery will delve into actionable strategies and best practices under the keyword "How to support employees' mental health remotely."

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Tips for Self-Care

In light of the information provided, it's crucial to prioritize self-care during these times. Just as emphasized in airplane safety demonstrations, "You need to put on your own mask before you can help others."

Here are practical suggestions for maintaining your mental well-being, enabling you to better support those around you:

1. Acknowledge the Challenges of Remote Work

Recognize the unique challenges of working from home, including potential distractions. Be honest about how multitasking at home may impact your mental health, and be compassionate with yourself as you navigate this new reality.

Prioritize Fundamental Needs:

Prioritize fundamental self-care practices, including sufficient sleep, nutritious eating, and regular physical activity. Create a schedule that emphasizes access to essentials like warmth, food, water, and rest, as these are fundamental to overall well-being.

2. Make Self-Care a Pleasurable Priority

Apply the same innovative energy you use at work to enhance your mental health. Prioritize self-care by scheduling regular blocks of time dedicated to activities you enjoy. Explore activities like journaling, reading, painting, drawing, playing games, watching comedy, meditating, going for walks, having dance parties, or engaging in anything that resonates with you. Investing time in yourself enhances your capacity for success in the workplace.

3. Establish Daily Pivot Points

Create a daily pivot point to strike a balance between work and personal life. Utilize your "extra time" to decompress, allowing yourself a break from work to rest and fully recharge for the following day.

4. Embrace Time Off and Seek Support

Shed any shame associated with taking time off when needed. Recognize the importance of establishing healthy boundaries, saying no when necessary, and reaching out for support. 

Connect with family and friends for additional assistance, and utilize available resources such as Employee Assistance Programs or virtual therapy sessions to prioritize your mental well-being. Now, more than ever, seeking help is a sign of strength.

Supporting Your Team's Mental Health: A Guide for Leaders

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Leaders facing the challenge of preserving employees' mental health in the current climate are not alone. Over 70% of employers, as per the Society of Human Resource Management, struggle with the shift to remote work. Here's a practical list of actions for supporting teams in these challenging times.

1. Exhibit Emotional Intelligence and Lead by Example

In these unprecedented times, demonstrate emotional intelligence by providing unmatched flexibility. Encourage your staff to emphasize self-care by giving them the freedom to set aside time on their calendars to take care of their personal and family needs. Understand how important this adaptability is to their long-term success.

2. Swiftly Address Employees' Needs

Conduct surveys to understand the unique requirements of working from home and promptly provide the necessary resources. Publicize mental health resources and Employee Assistance Program offerings consistently. Allow your employees to showcase their skills, offering opportunities for those who can contribute to the organization's well-being.

3. Prioritize Equity in Decision-Making

Amid health, economic, and social crises, ensure diverse representation at the decision-making table. Reflect on the leadership of countries that have effectively responded to the pandemic, noting a balance between data-driven decision-making and a human, empathetic approach. Strive for inclusivity in decision-making processes.

4. Acknowledge Remote Work Exhaustion

Recognize the challenges of working remotely during a pandemic. Slow down decision-making processes and focus on building a culture of support and care. Be creative in offering initiatives that uplift employees, such as company-wide contests, half-day Fridays, and celebrating employee milestones. Take the time to appreciate your workforce for their exceptional efforts during these trying times.

5. Promote Emotionally Intelligent and Resilient Leadership

Cultivate a culture of emotional intelligence and resilience. Recognize the toll that health crises and social issues can take on mental well-being. Although Mental Health Awareness Month may have passed, the responsibility to provide continuous support to your team remains. Prioritize the well-being of your people every day.

Implement Mental Health Surveys

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Despite societal efforts to combat the stigma surrounding mental health, not everyone feels comfortable discussing their struggles, particularly when it comes to personal challenges. Employees may be hesitant, feeling ashamed or not wanting to burden their managers with their issues, or they might not even recognize they have a problem.

Remote workers, in particular, may be less inclined to seek help due to a perceived lack of connection with their managers or the belief that serious matters should be discussed in person.

To monitor employees' mental health discreetly, consider sending out a company-wide survey every quarter or six months. Pose questions that can assess well-being, such as:

  • On a scale of 1-10, what is your stress level on an average workday?

  • How do you cope with stress?

  • Do you feel comfortable discussing your mental health with your manager? If not, why?

  • How do you feel at work? (using emotion faces or words to circle) Describe why you feel this way.

  • Do you think [company name] provides enough mental health resources? If not, what suggestions do you have for improvement?

These surveys offer insights into your team's mental health and empower you to implement preventive measures. For example, if an employee shows signs of burnout or depression, early intervention can prevent the situation from escalating.

Disseminate Mental Health Resources

Seeking mental health resources can be daunting for employees who may not know where to begin. This challenge is especially pronounced for remote workers who lack the in-office exposure to information sessions and helpful posters.

To support the mental health of remote workers, compile and share a list of accessible resources. Annually distribute this list through a company-wide email and post it on your HR platform. Regularly review the list to ensure all resources remain active and have up-to-date contact information.

Include various resources on this list, such as:

  • Therapists covered by your company’s benefits

  • Mental health hotlines (e.g., distress, suicide, substance abuse)

  • Local shelters and treatment centers

  • Educational online resources detailing signs, symptoms, and steps to take for mental illnesses

  • Telemedicine mental health services (especially beneficial for remote employees)

Consider offering a health advocacy program to your employees as well. These programs grant workers access to professionals who can assist them in making informed health decisions, understanding their benefits, and liaising with healthcare practitioners on their behalf.

For the blog post, Recruitery has explored how to support employees' mental health remotely. Employing the outlined strategies for supporting employees' mental health remotely can create a positive work environment, boost productivity, and contribute to overall well-being. As the remote work trend persists, investing in mental health support is not just strategic but a moral imperative for progressive organizations.