3 Mental Wellbeing Tips for Remote Workers

08/04/2020

3 Mental Wellbeing Tips for Remote Workers  

Now that most of us are two to three weeks into working from home, which for many is a new way of working.  We've looked at mental wellbeing tips for remote workers.

Interestinly, remote working has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with 50% of employees working outside of their main office at least 2.5 days each week,according to IWG’s Global Workspace Survey. With good reason too. 

It offers a better work-life balance for employees, with more flexibility and no need to commute – which has its own benefits for the environment. In turn, this helps employers attract and retain the top talent, with 80% of employees saying they would turn down employers who don’t offer flexible working if they had two similar job offers. 

On top of that, the vast majority (85%) of companies surveyed have seen an increase in productivity, a reduction of expenditure and improved risk management as a result of remote working. Indeed, it can even become a necessity when risk management strategies come into play, minimising the disruption of severe weather, power cuts or illnesses, for instance. 


The challenges of remote working 

However, with that comes a few challenges. Mental health charity Mind highlights three potential disadvantages of working from home: 

  • Less support available from your employer 
  • Isolation and fewer social interactions, which can be a negative for some people 
  • Difficulty switching off from work 

Each of these can take their toll on your mental wellbeing. For example, the NHS cites research suggesting that checking emails outside of work, akin to not switching off, can be detrimental to mental health. Albeit a limited study, the findings suggest it reduces detachment from work, leading to people feeling more tired, less relaxed and having higher cortisol levels – a hormone linked to stress. 

With that in mind, here are three tips to look after your mental wellbeing while working remotely.


The challenges of remote working


1. Stay connected 

Remote working and self-isolation don’t have to mean complete isolation from your colleagues. In their guide to remote working during the coronavirus outbreak, Mind highlights a number of key points relating to connection: 

  • Establish new ways of working – use collaborative working platforms to communicate and support each other 
  • Check in with team members regularly – ensure everyone has a regular, scheduled check-in with their manager, line-manager or supervisor as well as the rest of their team 
  • Take advantage of technology – use tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom to connect with colleagues and collaborate, including between phone calls and video calls so you’re not always looking at text on a screen 


Stay connected working from home


2. Maintain a routine 

It’s easy for your attention to wander when working from home, according to the Mental Health Foundation. They suggest having a structured day to address this, which can also help when it comes to switching off from work at the end of the day: 

  • Create a dedicated workspace that’s free of distractions 
  • Set a routine with a start time, finish time and regular breaks 
  • Make sure you get dressed 
  • Take a lunch break away from your workspace, getting outside if possible 
  • Set clear objectives for each day and ongoing tasks  
  • Let others know when you’re working and when you’re not available 
  • Pack away at the end of the day and leave your work area 
  • Try to separate home-schooling commitments from work so you can give children and work un-divided attention where possible


Maintain a routine working from home


3. Use support 

Support is something that’s highlighted by both Mind and the Mental Health Foundation. It’s important that both employers and employees recognise that remote working is a challenge. 

For employers that may mean offering various forms of support to all staff: 

  • One-to-one check-ins – discuss what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to remote working 
  • Counselling – specialist support for members of the team who are struggling 
  • Activity classes – help your team stay active through remote working with online activity classes they can join from home 

For employees, it means making use of all the support that’s available: