With all of us living and working during uncertain, challenging times, the importance of preserving positive wellbeing has never been more important.
As we all adapt to unfamiliar ways of living and working, many of us will be looking to maintain a degree of normality – and the way we work can play a big part in us doing just that.
Working from home means a lot of us are now cutting out a lot of the more stressful or monotonous parts of our working days: the early morning commutes, uninspiring working environment or those meetings which could have easily been emails.
It’s also meaning we’re getting to spend more time with those closest to us; although of course, there are a few downsides which comes to mixing your working and home lives.
A BLURRING OF BARRIERS
The current UK-wide lockdown has led to the usual working day being that little more unusual. Working from home may now mean you get to manage your workload from the comfort of your living room, but it also means that your personal life could start encroaching on your working life like never before.
For those with families, working from home can be both a blessing and curse: on the one hand, more time to spend with their families. And the downside? Well, more time to spend with the family…! And if you have young children, we all know that sometimes work and childcare don’t necessarily mix.
In all seriousness though, there is a more serious underlying issue here: and that’s the fact that ideally, healthy wellbeing is supported by a good work-life balance, and working from home may not be conducive for this.
In work environments, it’s a little easier for businesses to promote healthy wellbeing and encourage a healthy balance between work and personal lives. But when your people are now perhaps working remotely from home, how can HR teams support their employees in managing their work-life balance effectively?
MAINTAIN OPEN AND REGULAR COMMUNICATIONS
With most of us now working at home in lockdown conditions, many of us will be missing out on crucial social interactions with friend and family. This is where employers can step up and help fill that void with regular communications and check ins with their people.
Now, the important thing to remember here is that it shouldn’t be to be virtually ‘hovering over their shoulder’ and solely just talking about work. Sharing good news stories, tips on maintaining positive physical and mental wellbeing and positive news from within the business can all help your people still feel part of the team and, most importantly, not alone during uncertain times.
ENCOURAGE DOWN TIME
One of the main downsides to working from home is the fact that people will be bringing work into their home environment. Whilst maintaining a regular work routine – especially during the current lockdown periods – can help maintain positive mental wellbeing, it can become all too easy for work to start dominating home life.
This can start by perhaps just responding to work emails outside of regular hours, or maybe dealing with work issues when you’re on leave or away on holiday. With your work life now readily accessible and potentially lingering over you 24/7, it’s important that you encourage your people to keep their work and personal lives as separate as possible – after all, everyone needs regular downtime to unwind and relax!
Of course, there will always be occasions when your people need to deal with work-related matters outside of regular hours. You can help limit the impact on their lives and support that healthy work-life balance by giving time back in return – be it a morning off, early finish or extra leave.
On the subject of time, according to research from global recruitment firm Workplace Trends, 87% of HR leaders found that flex-time policies improved employee experience in their organisations and that 7 out of 10 hiring managers encouraged using it as a recruiting tool.
Flexi-time is a benefit which goes beyond a monetary reward. It can lead to healthier work-life balances for everyone in your business and also help your people to work at times which really works for them – meaning they are more likely to be at their productive, engaged best.
GIVE ACCESS TO PROFESSIONAL MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Finally, positive mental health is the foundation to successful company cultures. If your employees are under pressure or encountering heightened levels of mental stress, they may need more professional support to help get them through more challenging times.
An Employee Assistance Programme can give your people access to professional mental health counsellors and support when they need it most. At the very least, they can offer people a safe and confidential space to talk through their problems and speak to someone via phone or email 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
SUPPORT YOUR EMPLOYEES TODAY, BE READY FOR THE CHALLENGES OF TOMORROW
Helping support your employees' wellbeing helps in two ways: Firstly, a healthy and happy workforce will be better placed to tackle the challenges your business faces. Secondly, you'll be sewing the seeds of a positive company culture - a critical part of any successful organisation. So, what's stopping you?
Learn more about the benefits of an Employee Assistance Programme and how it can help your business - just click the link below to discover more!