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How To Improve Employee Wellbeing In A Remote Environment

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

In such uncertain times, employees may be feeling anxious, confused or stressed when working remotely. It's important that employers are doing what they can to create an environment in which employees feel supported and empowered to look after their mental health.



As remote and hybrid working becomes the ‘new norm’, building a positive employee experience won't just be nice to have, it's essential.

At wrkflow, we know just how important employee well-being is. To help you support your employees, here are some easy-to-implement well-being tips you can include in your remote or hybrid EX strategy.



1. Check in on how your employees are feeling


A lot of employees working remotely might not feel comfortable expressing themselves or they might not have the right platform to share how they feel right now. The answer to this is simple, ask.


Try and send out confidential surveys to your employees to do a quick pulse check on how everyone's feeling. This can help determine what your employees think the company is doing well and what you can work on. You can also try an automated pulse survey that assesses how employees feel periodically - daily, weekly or monthly.


A short Q&A session after a town hall or business update is also another simple, quick and effective way of addressing any burning questions and getting a gauge on how employees are feeling.



2. Building a safe working environment


Remote and hybrid working environments are now the norm but extending a safe environment beyond the office walls can be a struggle. It goes without saying that safety is a fundamental part of employee well-being.


Making sure your employees have the tools and resources they need to operate safely at home/hybrid is key. This might include offering a remote equipment allowance, providing desk set-up consultations and advice or providing regular training on managing remote offices.


If budgets are tight, try and compile resources on remote working best-practice that can be shared with the business or arrange a webinar to share further guidance.




3. Practice Mindfulness


Mindfulness is the focused state of awareness of the present moment, with an attitude of openness, curiosity, non-judgment, and acceptance (Roy, happyproject). Providing employees with access to mindfulness resources and apps for free is a fantastic way of supporting mental health and well-being remotely.


In order to completely focus on a task without any distracting thoughts and emotions, here are 7 steps recommended from the happy project on how to achieve mindfulness that you can share with your employees:

  1. Take a deep breath and relax

  2. Close your eyes

  3. Focus on your breathing

  4. Count your breaths slowly and repeat

  5. Notice your breathing process

  6. Be aware of your thoughts, feelings and plans

  7. Be in a state of peaceful awareness



Follow these 7 steps and you are on your way to achieving a more mindful lifestyle, reducing any distractions and distracting emotions that cause anxiety or stress.


Google has an amazing mindfulness course called Search Inside Yourself, founded by Chade Meng Tan. Tan being a software engineer managed to convince his fellow tech geeks and scientists that he was not up to some suspicious hippie stuff. There is a solid neuroscientific explanation behind the benefits of practising mindfulness. Because of Google's efforts, they have been ranked as the world's best employer!


4. Exercise


Exercise is good for physical health as well as mental health. Exercise helps with reducing anxiety and negative emotions and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function (Sharma, Madaan & Petty, 2006). Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin which can improve your moods and reduce feelings of unhappiness or loneliness.



While working from home often means sitting behind a desk and work through the hours, try to encourage your employees to make time to get outdoors and enjoy some exercise. Encouraging your employees to block out time in their diaries or to participate in virtual workout classes is a great start.


Leading organisations might want to consider offering well-being allowances for their employees, allowing them to get the workout equipment they need to stay healthy and happy at home. A small act of exercise goes a long way!


5. Stay connected


Feeling connected with others is such an important part of our well-being as individuals. Staying connected to colleagues and knowing what's going on also helps to ensure we're engaged and we're removing any anxiety created by those feelings of remote isolation.


Whilst some have tired of the virtual pub quiz, keep the events coming! Get creative with the ways you bring teams together and try to stick to a regular routine of events so employees know what to expect. Make sure you're asking your employees what's working and adapt the schedule/types of events accordingly.



6. Remember breaks are important


No one's a robot (except your enterprise robots..). Encouraging your employees to take a break is key. We're not just talking about lunch breaks or coffee-stops, we mean holiday! Sure, it's not going to be the spring break trip we'd all hoped for but taking time off to recharge is still so important.



Learn to take care of yourself during this period and strike a balance between work and self-care. A great employee experience is only possible when employees well-being is a priority!


Let us know how you're improving employee well-being in the comments below.



References

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-awake/id1030019034

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/not-another-anxiety-show/id1175495815

https://hbr.org/2018/01/podcast-women-at-work

https://hbr.org/2019/09/podcast-the-anxious-achiever

https://happyproject.in/mindfulness-7-steps/

https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/culture-news/a31728850/reading-improves-mental-health/

https://www.stylist.co.uk/books/new-books-to-read-bibliotherapy-nhs-mental-health-anxiety-depression-stress-bereavement-heartbreak-kate-atkinson-fiction-non-fiction-poetry/255550

https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/culture/improve-employee-experience-by-making-it-culturally-relevant/

https://reba.global/content/how-an-inclusive-wellbeing-strategy-can-improve-employee-experience

https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/culture/improve-employee-experience-by-making-it-culturally-relevant/

https://www.ceotodaymagazine.com/2020/05/5-best-books-for-understanding-and-supporting-mental-health-at-work/2/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/#:~:text=Exercise%20improves%20mental%20health%20by,self%2Desteem%20and%20cognitive%20function.&text=Exercise%20has%20also%20been%20found,self%2Desteem%20and%20social%20withdrawal.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-using-exercise#:~:text=Physical%20activity%20has%20a%20huge,can%20reduce%20stress%20and%20anxiety.

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-the-benefits-of-being-socially-connected/#:~:text=Socializing%20not%20only%20staves%20off,connecting%20via%20technology%20also%20works.

https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/blog/reading-good-mental-health/#:~:text=Losing%20yourself%20in%20a%20good,altering%20your%20state%20of%20mind

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-big-companies-who-swear-mindfulness-henry-stewart/

https://www.perkbox.com/uk/resources/blog/support-wellbeing-of-remote-employees



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