Over the past few years, remote work has been a great alternative to keep employees happy and streamline work processes with ease. However, like everything else, remote work has its significant downsides in addition to its benefits.
Stress, workload, and time management are among the main factors contributing to mental health concerns in remote work. According to a Qualtrics report, 41.6% of respondents reported a decline in their mental health since the COVID-19 outbreak due to prolonged working-from-home requirements. Therefore, it is crucial for companies to monitor and address these issues to promote the well-being of their employees.
In this article, we will discuss some of the ways in which remote work and its challenges affect employees’ psychological and mental health and top strategies to follow for providing employees with the right support.
Key obstacles faced by employees in remote work settings
Loneliness and isolation:
According to a study conducted by American Psychiatric Association, almost two-thirds of employees working from home feel isolated or lonely at least sometimes and 17% do all the time.
Remote work makes it difficult for employees to establish and maintain personal and professional relationships, which can lead to a sense of isolation and disconnection. Additionally, remote workers may face challenges in finding a suitable work-life balance, which can further exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
According to a recent survey conducted by Blind, 68% of tech workers reported feeling more burned out than when they worked in an office.
At the beginning of remote work, various employees felt as if they are compelled to work extra hours due to the heavy workload. This left them feeling tired and exhausted. Thereby, affecting their productivity and efficiency to work.
Adapting to the new normal:
Adapting to the new normal brought uncountable challenges to remote employees. From maintaining a work-life balance to facing technician and communication problems, the list is endless. Although, employees and their organizations took time to deal with and normalize each challenge effectively, however, mental health and work-life balance continued to be significant challenges to date. Poor management and lack of attention seem to be the reason behind these issues.
Companies need to understand the importance of supporting their employees throughout the different stages of the transitioning phase to cope and adapt effectively.
Anxiety, stress, and pressure:
Working from home can be distracting and cause employees to struggle to meet deadlines, leading to stress and pressure.
With a heavy workload, routines can become tedious, leaving employees feeling anxious and stressed throughout the day. This constant back and forth between work and home also leads to serious health and mental issues.
Top strategies to foster better mental health for remote employees
Offering optimal care and support to employees during difficult times can lead to increased happiness, productivity, and overall well-being.
Therefore, to ensure that employees feel supported, companies can consider implementing the below-mentioned initiatives aimed at promoting mental wellness:
- Enable free counseling and coaching sessions for certified and professional counselors and psychologists. Various big organizations like Starbucks and RedDoorz have availed these services to their employees
- Avail flexible working hours and more time off so that employees can maintain a healthy work-life balance
- Promote and encourage work-life balance habits
- Address mental health and encourage employees to feel comfortable about speaking and seeking help
- Communicate at regular intervals and keep checking in on team members
- Modify policies that encourage mental health awareness
- Acknowledge the challenges associated with altering habits and behaviors
In the end, understand that adapting to changes takes time and effort. Rather than relying on a single solution, take numerous small actions to improve employees’ remote working and mental health experience to build a better remote work environment.
Once again, don’t forget that adapting to change and building better remote work habits requires patience, persistence, and a commitment to self-care.