Providing support for mental health and encouraging check-ins and downtime can help organizations enhance the benefits of a remote work environment for employees.
The massive shift to working from home has been beneficial for employees and organizations. In a recent ManpowerGroup Future of Work survey, 8 in 10 respondents want more remote work to better balance family life. But the survey also revealed some complexities about remote work, such as the inability to leave work at the office. Here are ways that managers can accommodate working from home in a way that is beneficial and promotes balance.
Pay attention to mental health needs
There are a number of relaxation techniques that can lower stress, reduce the flight or flight response and help increase well-being for employees, from physical exercise to breathing practices. Organizations are providing help during these times with on-call counselors and virtual health appointments.
Create channels for communication
Working from home can feel isolating, but adding more video calls to the workday isn’t necessarily the antidote. Instead, managers can provide less intrusive but more timely feedback mechanisms, which include pulse surveys, peer group support and Slack or Microsoft Teams-style collaboration. Managers should use these channels to listen.
Help manage workloads
Organizations should understand who has additional obligations to care for children or parents, or family members that need attention. Globally, 40% of people say schedule flexibility is one of the top three factors when making career decisions, according to ManpowerGroup research. Managers can redistribute work to those who have capacity, or offer flexibility.
Remind employees to take vacation
Taking time off –– even at home –– is just as crucial to employee balance today, maybe even more important than in “normal times.” Historically, the majority of North American employees don’t use all allotted vacation time. Unfortunately, overcommitment is counterproductive. Taking vacation time is a vital part of preventing burnout, maintaining job satisfaction and inspiring and motivating an employee’s best work. Encourage employees to take their deserved time off.
Recognize generational differences.
Organizations should know that there are generational differences in attitudes about working from home, with Gen Z and Boomers more eager to return to offices for networking or collaboration. For these workers, additional virtual communication can replicate opportunities.
Ultimately, helping balance during working from home comes down to recognizing and respecting boundaries, and communicating frequently. These guidelines can enhance the experience for everyone involved.