October 15, 2020
By: Kevin Gardner
It's never been a more important time to pay attention to the well-being of your employees. Changes in working conditions, social unrest, and making adjustments to daily rhythms all have an effect on wellness and productivity. Your workers will be much more effective if they are healthy in mind as well as body. There are several things you can do to support yourself and those under your supervision while navigating challenging times. Here are a few ideas to consider.
1. Take Care of Your Wellness
Stress and uncertainty affect you as well as your employees. Before you can help or supervise anyone else, it's crucial that you remain well balanced. Limiting news consumption and keeping to a routine can make a real difference in your peace of mind. Whether you are working on-site or remotely, keeping the major elements of your life consistent will help maintain your mental health. In between tasks, find time for relaxing activities, whether watching funny videos, yoga, or a mindful minute or two. Try incorporating supports like essential oils to help you soothe yourself and maintain an even keel.
2. Provide Community
While adjusting social distance is crucial these days, loneliness can rear its head, impacting productivity and morale. In fact, a New York Times article cites a study that has shown that "lacking any social connection may be comparable to smoking up to fifteen cigarettes per day as a risk factor for mortality." If any of your employees live alone, they may be especially vulnerable. Whether virtual or in-person, do all you can to create a sense of community for your team. If you work remotely, consider having a daily video conference for any employee who would like to join. Keep the focus on connection, saving discussions about work for other meetings. Check in one-to-one, too. Don't make assumptions — ask your employee how they're doing and if they need support.
3. Offer Wellness Resources
Employee wellness matters a great deal: a survey by the nonprofit Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) indicates that an overwhelming percentage of business leaders say that focusing on wellness has a significant effect on employee performance and productivity. As companies are increasingly recognizing the need to prevent employees from burning out, they're getting more innovative. With the advent of more remote work — a virtual existence — supporting employee well-being is more complicated. But it's still possible, and necessary, to offer support.
Be sure to remind employees about your company's virtual wellness resources; it might be easier to forget if working remotely. If there's a mental health resource they can access online, let your supervisees know. Also, be aware of signs of mental or emotional distress in your team, particularly during times of personal or societal strife.
Access to digital resources like virtual yoga (or exercise sessions) as well as mindfulness apps is a big help. Keep in mind also that taking advantage of these resources in a group setting may increase the effectiveness of the resources for those who might be needing social connection and contact.
4. Show Trust
Especially if working with an off-site team is new to you, the concept of complete trust (with accountability) may be new. There's a lot of software that monitors remote employees to determine if and how much they're working, but try to refrain from using it. This approach will likely increase your workers' stress and actually decrease productivity. Also, think of how expectations tend to be self-fulfilling. Give your employees the tools and resources to do their jobs effectively, providing a chance for them to succeed.
5. Be Flexible
In this day and age, be flexible — understanding that employees might need to adjust their workload if they're also dealing with health or family issues. Help them out with prioritization and task analysis as needed.
The people who work for you will be most productive if they're well. Consider these suggestions to help boost their feelings of connection and well-being.