How to Help Your Employees Deal with Remote Work Stress
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of many hard workers. A survey by Mind Share Partners says that 60% of workers feel that their mental health affects their productivity. As an employer, it is important to notice when your employee’s mental health is affecting their work performance and know what to do about it.
The New Normal
The coronavirus pandemic has started a new work trend that many people have to grow accustomed to: working remotely. While this may be a method that is saving businesses right now, it can be hard to handle if you are living in a place where you have to care for your children at the same time.
While others may like privacy and getting to create your own schedule, others would prefer human interaction. This yearning can cause you to face a higher risk of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, since this is an uncertain time, no one can give us the answers we are seeking.
Signs of Stress to Look Out For
One of the signs of stress you may notice in your co-workers is if they are recently prone to making more mistakes and not turning in their work on time. The stress they are going through can make their work sloppy, inaccurate, or late under circumstances like these. Through Zoom, you might see your co-workers as distracted if they are zoning out or being forgetful. It can also manifest as things like forgetting to follow up or forgetting to put their signature in their email.
Another sign could be if your employee is exhibiting emotional, negative language. They may be thinking negatively about a project or tell you they will not get it done on time. They could be using words like “impossible” or “negative” a lot. This is called black-and-white thinking, when a person believes they either absolutely can or cannot do something. This type of thinking can lead to feelings of despair or hopelessness.
They could also be catastrophizing, which means when they are overwhelmed with too much work or a project is too hard to do, they may be viewing it as a life-and-death situation. They may believe this could be the end of their career, rather than accepting this as a challenge they can get through.
The Responsibility of Business Leaders
As a business leader, you may not have any control over this pandemic, but you can have control over your employees’ mental health. Not making any attempts towards mental health care has the potential to damage your reputation. It is first important to keep in mind that not all of your employees will be happy with this mandatory arrangement of working at home.
It is important that you make this adjustment as comfortable as possible for them. You also need to think about your own mental health if you are going to help other people. This means keeping up your routine as best as possible, exercising at least once a day, limiting your social media time, and doing things for others. Have a positive outlook and to not be afraid to share how you feel.
Speaking to all of your employees and checking in with them every week is the key to a successfully running business. Be the calm voice of reason and reassure your employees that everything will be fine. Always be kind to them, so they know they can turn to you for anything. Be prepared to answer any business-related questions like what is changing and what it means for that person. Assure them that no matter what happens, you and the company will do the best you can to help them.
Relax the Rules
Business will not be going on as usual. People are having to get used to this new style of working—if you do not recognize the psychological stress this is putting on people, you will be letting them down. Your employees’ needs, attitudes, and behaviors will change. Instead of being quick to react harshly when your employees are not providing you with exemplary work, think of how their performance is connected to uncertainty or fear.
You need to ensure your employees that you will always be available when they need help and that you will do your best to answer emails, phone calls, Zoom requests, or chats if you work through applications like Slack. Employers need to understand that employees have to juggle the time they have not just with work, but with their children, as they are out of school. Do not give your employees a reason to feel guilty about anything.
Your employees may need all of the help they can get for their mental health, but do not know where to turn. You can do your part by providing those resources to them and show them that you care. Let them know about all of the available apps out there designed to help alleviate their anxiety, as well as websites like TalkSpace where they can speak to a therapist at an affordable cost.
You can also educate your employees about what they are entitled to in their Employee Assistance Program. Knowing that you have these resources shows you are up to date on what can work for your mental health and that you took the time to do your own research. Helping the mental health of your employees is the key to ensuring everyone presents outstanding work through this uncertain time.
Working remotely can take a toll on employees, especially if they struggle with addiction or substance abuse. If you or someone you love needs help, please contact Silver Lining Recovery today at (866) 729-8577. Our outpatient care center is located in Huntington Beach, and provides clients with a serene and relaxing environment during treatment. Our knowledgeable and experienced counselors provide customized care through treatment options like EMDR, CBT, DBT, meditation treatment, faith-based treatment, and academic and career counseling.