Never before have so many employees worked from home. When the pandemic landed in March 2020 approximately 88% of organizations around the world demanded or encouraged their staff to work from home, meaning that those of us who were lucky enough to keep our jobs, had to adapt to working out of our apartments and houses overnight.
While most of us have embraced the work-from-home lifestyle, it does come with its own downsides. A survey by Buffer.com reported that 20% of people who work from home regularly cite loneliness as something they struggle with. If you are in charge of a team, this shouldn’t be something you ignore.
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Not only can loneliness have an impact on an individual’s mental health, but their productivity at work can also suffer. So, if you want to be a compassionate boss who looks after their team and keeps them working contently and consistently, consider implementing these 4 ways to keep your remote workforce happy:
1. Maintain the ‘human’ element
Working from home can make people feel isolated. Usually, if they have a problem they would walk to someone’s desk to discuss it, or call another department and ask for someone’s help. If you’re in charge of a team, make sure you keep a virtual ‘open door’ policy. Make yourself available to your staff and let them know they can come to you with any problems, big or small.
Scheduling in a time to chat to each individual member of staff, even if it’s just for 10 minutes a week, can make a huge difference. It lets your team know you’re looking out for their well-being and that out-of-sight doesn’t mean out-of-mind.
2. Make sure they’re getting dressed
This might sound like instructions for getting your kid ready for school, rather than keeping your adult workforce on track; but making sure that your staff are wearing appropriate clothes will keep them in the work mindset.
While most of us have relished spending most of the day in our pyjamas, it isn’t conducive to a productive work environment. This doesn’t mean demanding that each member of your team dons a suit to sit at their laptop all day, but comfortable, work-appropriate clothing should be enforced to encourage productive working days.
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3. Make sure they’re working out of a proper office space
This is not a suggestion to visit each staff member’s home and install an office cubicle, but ensuring your team has the right environment to work in will keep them happy and productive. While you can’t insist that they convert their kid’s nursery into an office, you should make sure they’re allocating a dedicated space that is quiet and equipped with the right tools for them to have a good working day.
It’s important for their mental health that staff be able to ‘leave the office’ at the end of the day. If you have the budget, giving your staff proper, supportive office chairs is a great way to help them feel comfortable, and shows that you care about them. Or, if your company isn’t in the position to spend so much, consider gifting smaller things that will also help staff, such as gel cushions and back-supports. It’s these little considerations that will show your team that you have their well-being in mind.
4. Organise team-building exercises and non-work related activities
It can be very easy to only focus on work-related tasks during office hours, but team-building exercises are vital to keeping your staff feeling connected with you and each other. There are no shortage of virtual exercises you can do and a quick bit of research will bring up some great suggestions, such as those found on TeamBuilding.com.
But aside from work-based activities, it’s important that your staff let their hair down once in a while. Virtual office drinks on a Friday afternoon can be a great way for staff to unwind after a busy week. Or consider a fun competition they can do together that is completely unrelated to their job. Online quizzes and friendly sports betting can be a more upbeat alternative to drinks, especially if your team is competitive. Or why not try to organize a casino night? Games like Blackjack are fun and relaxing but also requires strategical thinking. They can also be done from home with so many online casinos around. Many casinos not on Gamstop let you try the games out for free in demo mode, and many of them also offer great bonuses for new customers.
Competitions will keep bonds strong, and if they can beat the boss at something, all the better!