The rhythms of hard work and rest need balance – especially at home
Take a breath. Rest your eyes. Get some fresh air.
These are all common sense actions, but teams that work remotely can forget to take care of themselves –– especially if they feel isolated. Leaders can help foster a healthy team by actively encouraging beneficial habits. Here are ways to boost healthiness with a remote team.
Prioritize mental health
Working from home can mean schedules are thrown off with family members around or other non-work obligations. Managers can help by being understanding and flexible. If workers aren’t available online first thing in the morning, that may mean they can be more productive at night. Expecting an at-home workforce to be available all the time is a recipe for burn-out. Allow the team to work around their schedules if work is always at their fingertips, and set healthy boundaries where work stops for the day or week.
Don’t be afraid to Live out Loud
The invisible line between home and work life has all but vanished completely. Working families have always needed flexibility, and now that need has become visible for everyone who is trying to balance responsibilities. Instead of trying to pretend like everything is normal, now is time to embrace the idea of work and life fluidity, or Living out Loud, as ManpowerGroup North America President Becky Frankiewicz calls it. “I ask all my leadership team to remove those camera blockers and turn their videos on, let’s SEE each other in the fluidity of our day,” she wrote in a blog post called Leading in Full View. “Let people know that we’re all in this together.”
Reset the schedule
Working from home can mean schedules are thrown off with family members around or other non-work obligations. Managers can help by being understanding and flexible. If workers aren’t available online first thing in the morning, that may mean they can be more productive at night. Expecting your at-home workforce to be available all the time is a recipe for burn-out. Allow the team to work around their schedules if work is always at their fingertips.
Take breaks and recharge
Working from home is not a vacation. In fact, it can add to the stress because work seems ever-present. The human body and mind needs downtime and regular rest periods. Employees who push themselves for long periods of time and then cram all their time into one vacation – or don’t take their full allotted time off – aren’t receiving optimal recovery.
Cut down on email
Working remotely can mean inboxes fill up faster than normal, since e-communication replaces many meetings and in-person communication. Help ease the burden of email by taking tasks and to-dos for teams into a separate project management tool, or even a centralized shared document. When the responsibility of constantly checking email is eased, workers can take time to balance productivity with real breaks for work.
Along with professional goals, managers should work with team members to define personal goals that help balance their pursuits outside of work. Then help them reach these goals and give them time and flexibility to work on this side of their development. Creating a roadmap to these goals will help make tangible progress, meeting by meeting.
Ultimately, a manager can’t be available for check-ins all the time. That’s where assigning accountability partners can help. Colleagues working together can look out for each other, send helpful check-in reminders throughout the day, and even take virtual fresh air breaks together to talk and socialize. Managers can encourage these peer-to-peer connections to foster a cohesive team.