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Six tips to improve employee wellbeing in a remote world

Six tips to improve employee wellbeing in a remote world

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On Wednesday 22nd April, Buck hosted a webinar – alongside guest speakers from YuLife and Wrkit – looking at how to ensure the wellbeing of staff during periods of change and disruption. Bringing together key points raised in the webinar discussion, this blog looks at the top six ways you can help your workforce retain a positive mindset.

1. Build a socially distanced community.

Find ways of creating the community feel – even though it’s a challenge when everyone is remote. For example, Monday morning Zoom updates for the business help to reinforce the ‘why’ of the organisation and the common purpose. Or introduce lunchtime drop ins where people can come and go during a set period to catch up with other colleagues. Another popular idea is virtual coffee breaks, setting aside half an hour for employees to interact with each other on a social level, as they might in an office environment.

2. Provide structure, stimulus and recognition.

People have these three basis hungers. Help your people manage their time well. What are their routines? Not just at work but on the physical side too. Make sure they have time to get away from the work commitments.

There’s a danger of people being exhausted by too much stimulus, now work and home are the same place. There’s also an overload of COVID-19 information which can add to uncertainty and anxiety. Meditation can be a good way for people to tune out of this and into something more productive for their wellbeing.

And recognition can be as simple as regular check-ins or 1:1s with line managers. Showing empathy and making sure people are looking after themselves as well as recognising the great work they are doing whilst facing the challenges of being remote is vital.

3. Lead with honesty.

There’s never been a better time to show authenticity. We’re all in the same boat and leaders should be open about their own challenges. But it’s important that a level of optimism is retained and shared with your people; they will no doubt be looking to leaders in your business to reassure them that they will come out the other side, so it’s about finding the right balance.

4. Promote physical wellbeing.

For your workforce, maintaining their physical health is so important as it has benefits on their mental health too. With increased anxiety, people’s bodies are building up stress chemicals; exercise can help to release those. It doesn’t have to be a hard 90-minute session, and just because the gyms are closed doesn’t mean people can’t be physically active. It might be as simple as having a brisk walk or just getting out for some fresh air. It could be going for a run for the duration of your favourite song. Or trying one of the many at-home workouts available over Zoom or YouTube. Little and often is good, and individuals don’t have to be super-fit to benefit from it.

5. Encourage your people to use the solutions available to them.

Educate people on the tools you’ve put in place for them.

Empower people to take charge; don’t simply take the paternalistic approach and instruct them.

Lead by example. Lip service might be paid to wellbeing so it’s important it comes from the top of the business with senior people role modelling a good work/life balance. Employees will be inspired by actions rather than the words and senior figures will have a bigger influence.

6. Take a balanced approach to improving all aspects of wellbeing.

Physical: employees should be comfortable at home. You could include a budget for everyone to buy new kit, for example a new screen or a headset. Or provide access to a 24/7 virtual GP, to reassure your people it’s there if they need it.

Mental wellbeing: EAPs give access to counselling. There are also apps out there like Calm or Headspace which give people tips on mindfulness.

Social wellbeing: find ways of maintaining a sense of community. It might be a common purpose and there’s never been a better time to remind people of your company’s values and mission. It can help everyone feel connected when not in the same office together.

Financial: remind people about the benefits in place that give them security or more attractive rates than available in the retail market. There’s also lots of good content available from sources such as the Money Advice Service.

 And a final thought….

Encourage employees to finish every day with the three Ws: What Went Well, taking a few minutes to write down three or four things that went well in that day. There will always be something and it’s good to finish the day in a positive mindset, ready for the next one.

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