Supporting Employee Mental Health with a Remote Team
Managers need to recognize warning signs and take steps to facilitate resiliency.
When working face-to-face with a team, it’s easier to interpret voice and facial cues when someone needs support. There can be obvious signs of burn-out, fatigue or lack of engagement. But when working remotely, managers and businesses need to be extra vigilant in checking on team members, and being available with caring for mental health.
Before it becomes a problem, employers can help prevent and mitigate the effects of overworked and stressed employees. Here are strategies for effectively helping a remote team with mental health.
Recognize the warning signs
Stress can manifest itself in a number of ways, including decreased satisfaction and commitment, lower productivity, increased personal conflicts, and a desire to disengage and disconnect. Employees may feel like they can’t admit they are burned out because it feels like a personal shortcoming or shows a lack of commitment. To get around this issue, astute managers will pay attention to changes in employees’ attitudes which may indicate a deeper issue. In a remote environment, this may mean explicitly asking employees about their mental state. This can include, for example, encouraging connections beyond work matters.
Take something off their plate
High performers are high performers for a reason – they take on a lot, and accomplish a lot. But eventually, even the most productive person can reach a breaking point. Recognize any early signs of stress, and relieve your busiest workers of certain roles or duties that can be reassigned. Everyone has a finite amount of hours in the day, and productivity without burnout requires strategic cutting back on the activities that consume energy.
If managers show optimism, their teams will too. As an article in Harvard Business Review shared, optimism and powerful and contagious. Attitude starts at the top and can set the tone for a difficult project or a remote team that needs positive vibes: “Leaders who demonstrate hopefulness and confidence in the future are better able to help their team members find meaning and purpose in work, especially under stressful conditions,” the article states. “And don’t forget to use humor as a relief valve. Remember that fear freezes initiative, ties up creativity, and yields compliance instead of commitment.”
Finally, remember to continue to monitor employee health. Stress can always come back under different circumstances. Managers will do well to observe over time to ensure that employees receive the help they need – both now and in the future.