With thousands around the country now working separately from their teams in the wake of COVID-19, the business logistics of how to work from home have given way to a different managerial priority:
How do you look after the mental health of your employees and team if you aren’t working in the same space as them every day?
1. Check in frequently
Make sure that you are connecting with your team as individuals, offering space to be vulnerable and conversational with you.
Many are working through these adjustments and may not feel open to being transparent about how it is affecting them. By being genuine and showing concern and willingness to listen you can prove that you are an empathetic ear, not just a manager.
2. Encourage social moments
For many employees, this is their first time working at home. Creating work-life balance is just as important during this time as any other, and this means making sure that there are boundaries in place to protect your team from burnout and excess stress.
Encourage your team to reach out to each other for social chats as well – when you consider all the small interactions that happen each day, they all add up to fulfill people’s social needs.
As much as productivity is still essential, fostering an environment where your team knows it’s okay to have a quick check-in with their work community is going to have greater long-term benefits.
3. Keep your routine
Working from home, especially if you live alone, it can be quite easy to fall into the habit of working until the sun disappears.
As a team leader, by ensuring that you take breaks and let others know you are using break time to get away from the computer and get fresh air or exercise means you’re leading by example.
This helps demonstrate and set expectations that it is okay for your team to balance their time and make sure they have ‘offline’ breaks that allow them to take time away from their desk and computer.
4. Share resources for your team
One of the hardest things to do if you are struggling with your mental health is to reach out for help.
By creating resources for your team to find help, self-help tools, or reach out to someone for professional help, you can help minimise the difference between something being easily recovered from or becoming a larger issue down the road
As well as establishing something like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with an experienced company, it’s important to make access to phone and online support easily available:
Some examples that can help are:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- MensLine 1300 789 978