Dealing with the Challenges of Working From Home

How you can help employees navigate and win in this remote world.

By: Adam Meadows

Change is here

The pandemic has impacted our world in a variety of ways. Masks, social distancing, and awkward elbow taps to name a few.

But one of the biggest changes we’ve seen has been the shift to virtual work environments in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

One minute your employees had their own offices where they focused on work and could connect, interact, and collaborate with people. We’re talking face to face. #TheGoodOlDays

The next, they’re making lunch for the spouse while on a Zoom call (cat filter or no), answering emails, and putting out literal fires created by the kiddos.

Or perhaps they’re full on isolated and staring at a computer screen for 8 hours, secretly missing that annoying co-worker and their clicking pen.

*click click*

And this change seems to be here to stay. More and more companies are realizing how effective their teams can be remotely. Not to mention, the cost savings.

Which is great. But it also means your people are now managing their career within the same walls they live, play, eat, and sleep.

It’s a whole new stress.

Here’s what you can do to support your employees both physically and mentally during a time where things could get really nutty.

Give permission for some balance

Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams all experienced a massive increase in usage this past year.   

We’re talking virtual meetings all day, everyday.

Which means a few things:

  1. Your team has been empowered to stay connected, which is good.
  2. But they’re having a harder time actually stepping away, which can be bad.
  3. And NOT muting your microphone is the new “reply all”, which is always annoying.

Being motivated and driven to work hard is one thing, but employees are feeling this pressure of “needing” to be seen.

They’re facing this new fear that their peers and/or bosses will assume they’re goofing off and being lazy if they aren’t readily available at any moment for a last second video call.

Without some balance, this can lead to some unhealthy behaviors.

Solution #1: Share with your team the importance of having a designated time at the end of the day to un-plug. And to stick to it. Because if they don’t, it’ll feel like they’re on call 24/7.

So, make sure they know it’s ok to:

  • Sign out of their work email,
  • get off their computer,
  • turn on their DO NOT DISTURB,
  • and truly allow themselves to stop working for the day.

Solution #2: Remind employees that not all meetings have to be a video call, and that when they can, to take advantage of that.

Grab the AirPods, throw on some walking shoes, and get outside. They can walk and talk while enjoying some sunshine and fresh air.

Talk about throwback with a good ol’ fashioned phone call. #Retro

Proactively build community

Right now, people are feeling the FOMO. They’re missing the inside jokes, random after-work drink invites, and delicious food surprises (“Todd brought donuts!”).

This remote working environment can feel oh so lonely.

So make sure you’re being proactive and offering ways to interact and connect virtually.

  • Schedule time at the beginning of meetings to “catch up.”
  • Provide virtual events (i.e. a brunch, happy hour, coffee shop chats).
  • Host company wide challenges (i.e. run club, walking programs, lifestyle challenges).
  • Encourage social breaks.

Provide them the tools to build healthy habits

There’s this vision of working from home as this relaxing flow of waking up peacefully, getting a morning workout in, grabbing a delicious cup o’ Joe, and seizing the day.

In reality, most wake up after snoozing six times, brush their teeth (thank goodness), and pull out their phone to answer just a few emails, and end up getting stuck.

The next thing they know, it’s 2 PM, they haven’t had any food, the kids are screaming, and they still aren’t wearing any pants.

So it’s important to remind employees the power of establishing routines that include time for self-care and wellness. 

Encourage them to:

  • Schedule this self-care time on their calendar.
  • Create a reminder to check-in and create awareness (i.e. asking themselves “what do I need right now?”)
  • Make a list of go-to activities that give back and fill up their cup (i.e. going for a walk, stretching after lunch, participating in a live virtual workout).

Shameless plug alert: We help employees with all of this and more.

From nutrition and movement tips to stress management and emotional regulation techniques, our monthlyME Wellness Resource includes powerful strategies to transform the lives of your employees—in one easy-to-use mobile app.

CLICK HERE to find out more.