Promoting Healthy Remote Working

Research by People Management has found that half of employees working from home during the current lockdown situation are unhappy with their work-life balance, with the majority of those surveyed putting in longer and more irregular hours than they would under normal circumstances.

In addition, employees are feeling isolated and have increasing concerns over matters such as job security and the health of family members, which is all leading to a lack of sleep and effecting mental health.

‘Experts warn of significant physical and mental wellbeing challenges for employees working remotely, and urge employers to recognise their continued responsibility [1]’.

Employers have a duty of care to all employees wellbeing, even when working from home. There are a number of steps they can take to improve employee wellbeing.

Tips for healthy remote working

Conduct electronic DSE assessments – research by People Management found an increase in physical complaints associated with bad posture. Most employees working from home will be using a laptop without a proper screen or monitor. In addition most dining tables are slightly taller than a standard office desk, adding to bad posture. Ensure line managers are conducting electronic risk assessments to ensure employees home workplace is suitable. If businesses are supplying equipment it must pass relevant safety tests.

Know when to step away from your desk – take regular breaks throughout the day, including a proper lunch break and be clear about when the working day begins and ends. When work is over, be sure you switch off to avoid a burnout. Try to develop habits such as taking exercise and fresh air every day to promote a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing.

Minimise stress – coronavirus has plunged the world into uncertainty and the constant news about the pandemic can feel relentless and cause people to feel stressed. Line managers should set clear expectations for employees throughout the working day including the way employees should deliver and receive communications. This will help alleviate pressure and anxiety.

Use video conferencing calls – this is essential for keeping people connected and provides an opportunity for line managers to check in on their team’s physical and mental wellbeing, and discuss any additional support they need to fulfil their roles from home.

Maintain and develop relationships – make time for non-work chat as you would in the workplace.

Set goals – and review regularly, adjusting as needed under the circumstances. If some employees can’t carry out all their usual work, consider other skills which can be utilised. Line managers should remind employees of the big picture and how their work fits into it.

Focus on results – rather than activity. Line managers should set expectations with their teams and employees and trust them to deliver.

Take time off if unwell – as employees would if they were required to be in the workplace, employees should take leave if feeling unwell and provide an update or handover where possible.

Offer support on well-being – this is a great time for businesses to remind employees about current health and well-being benefits (e.g. employee assistance programmes) and how to access them when working remotely.

If you would like further guidance or support on this matter or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk

Copyright Clover HR

 

References

  1. https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/half-working-from-home-during-lockdown-unhappy-with-work-life-balance

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