How small business owners can support remote workers
Due to the situation regarding the coronavirus, as a business owner your team may be working from home for the time being. With less social interaction and face to face support in the workplace during this time, it’s vital to look after your mental health as well as your physical health. Now more than ever it’s important to ensure that your team are looking after their own mental health too.
So how can you support the mental health of your team while working remotely?
- Keep in touch with your team and let them know that you care. Understandably, your team may be feeling worried and anxious about what the future may hold. You can help to ease these feelings of uncertainty by staying in touch and letting your team know that you’re there should they need support.
- Encourage team collaboration. When working from home, there can be a tendency for communication to drop off between your team as they’re no longer seeing each other face to face every day. Encouraging your team to utilise technology such as video conferencing means that they’re still able to work collaboratively and maintain a level of social interaction.
- Read the mood of your team and be aware of negative mood change. It’s completely normal for people to experience mood changes during periods of significant change. Tuning into the mood of your team and looking out for signs of negative mood change can help you to adapt your communication and provide the appropriate levels of support to the employees that may need it.
- Listen out for distress and struggling in things people say and in their tone. Some members of your team may feel comfortable openly talking about their feelings. However, others may have a tendency to keep their emotions bottled up and try to deal with them themselves. Be alert and listen out for distress and struggling in the things that your employees say and their tone.
- Look out for behaviour changes. Is a team member replying to emails in the middle of the night? Or have you noticed on a conference call that an upbeat team member is unusually quiet and upset. This may indicate that they’re struggling and may need additional support.
- Use your instinct. When you work with your team every day, you get to know them. You should therefore trust your instincts – if someone in your team doesn’t seem quite right, have an honest conversation with them to find out if there’s anything you can do to help.
- Promote any support that is available. If you provide support services for your team, ensure they know how to access them should they need it and that they’re clearly signposted so they know that help is available.
You may be well accustomed to having your team work from home, or it may be a brand new experience for you. However, making sure that you’re staying in regular contact, prioritising mental health and maintaining a positive work life balance are steps that can help to ease the pressure of remote working.
By Eugene Farrell, Mental Health Lead at AXA Health