This article is written by Olivia Coughtrie, Director at Oriel Partners PA Recruitment.
Monitoring staff wellness is important at the best of times, but perhaps even more so in light of recent health events when people have had to adapt to remote working overnight.
Some people adjust to new ways of working quickly, however it may take others a little longer. Similarly, monitoring employee’s wellness levels from afar can seem more challenging at first, but with the right approach it can be done.
In truth, remote working was on the rise before pandemic.
Increasingly, companies simply don’t need a physical office anymore, and dispersed teams that are spread across different workspaces— including the home— are becoming increasingly common. Yet this can lead to inconsistency in relation to monitoring wellness.
The importance of wellbeing at work relates to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When our basic needs are met— when our bodies and minds are cared for— we can achieve positive self-actualisation and esteem, and therefore reach a higher sense of personal wellbeing.
And with wellbeing comes higher productivity levels (and therefore, ROI) which benefits the employer too. In fact, research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School found that workers are 13% more productive when happy, with researchers finding that “happy” employees don’t work more hours but are simply more productive within their time at work.
The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. So what do we, as recruiters and employers, have to provide to ensure these hours are positive ones?
Employees are motivated by:
When it comes to remote working wellness, be sure to prioritise the following points.
Minimise the risk of employees feeling isolated by facilitating regular contact between managers and employees — and employees with their teammates. It’s not just about checking in on a daily basis to monitor workflow and set targets. Catching up in a holistic way every few days either on the phone or via video will help everyone feel more connected.
Depending on the situation, you might also want to consider infrequent in-person meetups too. Again, these can contain a social element and not just centre around work.
Those managing remote teams should be trained to detect stress, anxiety and burnout among employees. Contrary to what some may think, remote working can actually exacerbate these feelings.
Provide mental health training and assign a Mental Health First Aider. Doing so will make your (remote) workplace feel like a more supportive space. You can find a range of mental health at work resources on websites like Mind.org.
Physical health and mental health are interlinked, so you need to support both. Consider offering discounts on gym memberships as part of your remote worker benefits package.
You could also facilitate online fitness classes like virtual yoga to get people moving. You will need to make sure that employees working from home have access to ergonomic furniture and that their workstation is set up in a way that promotes a healthy posture.
Many newly remote workers will feel the need to work even harder (or longer hours) to “prove” themselves. It’s also a lot easier to keep working into the evening. Encourage your team to take breaks and finish work on time. Model this behaviour yourself by signing out for lunch and resisting the urge to send emails after hours— as tempting as it may be!
There are lots of online tools that make collaborating in the virtual environment easier. Cloud-based platforms like Asana, Slack and Trello enable multiple people to work on the same document and interact. Then there’s video conferencing tools Zoom and Hangouts.
As well as benefiting productivity and quality of work, these platforms can help boost remote worker morale by making people feel like they are part of a team in the absence of a centralised office location. Be sure to use them for social team get togethers too!
About the Author
Olivia Coughtrie is Co-founder & Director at Oriel Partners a PA and administrative recruitment consultancy based in Central London. Olivia is passionate about making a positive change to the recruitment process.
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