Remote working has become the new normal. For some, this had served as a small beacon of light during an otherwise dim time—after all, studies have proven that working from home is a perk many employees have wanted for years. In fact, a study by Future of Work found that 78% of employees listed flexible working options as their first choice for non-monetary perk.
But for those workers that prefer a traditional, in-office environment, the transition to remote employment can prove difficult. For HR, now is the time to focus on providing these individuals with the support and resources needed to continue making strides in their careers.
To do that, you first need to understand the signs that one of your employees is struggling. Once you have identified whether an individual needs help, utilize the employee wellness tips below to ensure they succeed.
Warning Signs to Be Aware Of
First, ask managers to focus on employees’ work output. In the beginning, a learning curve is to be expected. Without amenities like external monitors and additional desk space, it might have taken your employees a bit of time to get into a routine. But by this point, individuals should be used to a typical days’ worth of work. If you find that an employee who once burned through projects with ease is now slow to turn over materials, it might be because they are struggling in an at-home environment.
Next, advise senior management to look out for a decrease in employee engagement. For example, if an employee who was once an engaged, active member of all meetings and workshops has become withdrawn or quiet, it could be due to stress or emotional fatigue.
Managers should also look out for an increase in vocalization. For instance, are employees who seemingly grasped assignments with ease now piping up with more questions or concerns than usual? This could be because they are struggling to navigate expectations and delivery with the new way of things.
Finally, advise upper management to be on the lookout for a decrease in work quality. Projects or materials that require extensive editing, include significant issues or mistakes, or feels rushed could be indicative of an employee that is struggling to keep up or adapt to their new environment. They might be distracted or stressed, and their challenges are impeding their ability to deliver.
How to Assist
During difficult times, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of employee wellness over corporate success. It has been proven that companies that focus on building a positive work environment get more out of their employees for longer periods, so remind managers to be gentle and forgiving with their team members.
If a manager does notice any of the aforementioned warning signs, have them schedule an informal meeting with the employee. The manager should bring up some of their concerns while also making it clear that the employee’s job is, in no way, in jeopardy. The focus should be on providing the employee with the support needed to successfully adapt to a remote working environment.
In some cases, simply hearing this could be enough to alleviate some of the employee’s stress and help them return to their normal production quality. In other cases, more concrete steps may be needed. If the employee does require assistance, have the manager schedule a meeting with an HR representative, who can address the situation as needed.
For instance, if the employee is struggling because they do not own the necessary equipment needed to produce work at their normal rate, you might be able to supply them with the necessary devices. Amenities like external monitors, keyboards, headsets, and desk stands can streamline a worker’s processes.
If on the other hand, an employee is struggling to adapt to working alone, suggest they find a team member to stay on calls with them. This will mock the appearance of working alongside someone while still encouraging a remote set-up.
HR representatives should also offer tips on how to better structure a day. This might include setting small goals for each hour, setting aside time for a committed lunch break, and creating a designated workspace—for the latter, this space should be somewhere separate from where the employee relaxes.
Emphasizing Mental and Physical Health
Outside of work, it is important for employees to keep their minds and bodies in good condition. Not only will this alleviate corporate-related stressors, but it will also ensure they come to work each day feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and capable.
Remind employees to set aside time for exercise and self-care. To back up these tips, consider expanding your company’s employee wellness benefits plans to offer better access to gyms, studios, and mental health resources.
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