Working from home has it's benefits, but it can be tricky to manage work-life balance
Here's how you can support employee wellbeing whilst everyone's working from home...
As a nation, most of us have been working from home for almost a full year now, and it doesn’t look it will be changing any time soon. 40% of employers are saying they expect more than half of their workforce will be working from home regularly in the long term according to CIPD.
Working from home does have its benefits, whether that’s financial savings being made from not commuting, or being able to spend more quality time with family. In fact, according to a report from CIPD 61% of people said they had a better work-life balance, 43% said they found it allowed for greater collaboration and 38% said they had a greater ability to focus with fewer distractions.
Plus, it can benefit employers too, with happy employees being more productive and far more likely to stay at their current workplaces.
Though, not everyone will be finding working from home easy all the time. Here’s 6 ways you can help your employees look after their wellbeing whilst working from home, to support a good work life balance:
1. Keep talking:
Working from home has put an end to the daily social interactions you can get in an office, from bumping into each other in a corridor, catching up in the kitchen or stopping by someone’s desk.
These short chats everyday were a great way to check in with colleagues and speak about topics other than work. Employers can mitigate this for remote workers by organising regular check ups with their staff, and not to go through a to-do list. Use this time to talk about things other than work and keep building those relationships with your employees. It also gives your employees, especially those who are caring for other people, the chance to discuss how busy they are and ask for help if they need it.
If you have a full team, make sure they’re staying connected too, you could try putting in an informal coffee catch up. Encourage your teams to bring a drink, and spend some time chatting like you would in the office.
2. Encourage time away from work:
One of the downsides to remote working, is that we’re all now bringing our workspace into our home and it can make it difficult to separate our professional and personal lives.
You might find that some employees are finding their work life is taking over from their home life now that it’s all too easy to answer work emails or finish a task outside of normal work hours. Not getting that downtime can lead to burnout.
Make sure you actively encourage your employees to close their laptops, and not check emails outside of their core workhours. It’s also important for everyone to make use of their annual leave allowance, although we can’t necessarily go on holiday, having a break from work to just relax is important.
Also, we’re all spending time in front of our screens far more than we may be used to, so getting time away from screens and switching off has never been more important. You could try implementing walking phone calls, or daily reminders to get out of the house and get some fresh air (when weather permits!). It’s important that your senior leaders follow this too, so they set the example for employees that it’s alright, and actively encouraged, for them to leave their desks.
You could also make use of tech to help! You could try encouraging employees to set reminders to leave their desk during the day and when to start and end the workday or look into apps that can help.
3. Remember everyone has different circumstances:
From working in a shared house, living with parents, or even being a parent, employees across your business will be facing their own challenges when working from home. It’s important to make sure that any advice you’re giving your staff covers all circumstance, whether it’s encouraging working parents to find hours in the day that works for them, or for those living and working in the same room to take more regular breaks outside of those four walls. If you’re not sure what your employees need, it’s best to just ask.
4. Be flexible:
Flexitime as a benefit can really help employees to manage their working hours around their individual needs, whether that’s caring for someone else or taking the time they need to look after their own wellbeing.
There are many options available including allowing earlier (or later) starting and end times, looking at changing the position to a part-time role, or working compressed hours (working the same number of hours, but in fewer days).
This not only benefits employee’s work-life balance and gives them time to pursue passions outside of work. It also empowers your staff to work at the times they are most productive and engaged and makes them feel trusted as an individual.
5. Little things to add to their daily routines:
Now that we’re working from home, we might be struggling to find a new routine that works for us. Why not encourage your employees to add a few of these suggestions to their routine to help them balance work and home life:
- Try out a fake commute in the morning and evening: whether they use the time to read a book, or go for a walk, making the use of time just before and after work can help us mentally separate our personal and professional lives. Plus, starting the day with some exercise is a great energy booster!
- Make sure their workspace (wherever it may be) is set up the best they can: encourage your employees to set up in a space with natural light, have their chair at the correct height, and provide them with the equipment they need to be comfortable during the day. For some people, they just won’t have space for a normal desk. But there are plenty of options out there to make working from a small space easier, whether that’s a lap desk or something that can fold away.
- Taking their daily breaks: we’ve all had those days where we haven’t managed to get some time to have lunch, and by 3 o’clock we’re facing a slump. Encouraging your employees to take breaks throughout the day can help keep their energy levels up throughout the day and it’s better for their wellbeing.
- Regularly move around: there’s nothing worse than sitting in the same chair for hours on an end. Encourage your employees to remember to get up, stretch and move around throughout the day.
- Remind them it’s okay to say no, and to review their workloads: without the daily check-ins we get in the office, your employees might be struggling to balance their work. Take the time to have a chat with your staff and encourage them to say no if they need to.
- Don’t forget the importance of hydration and nutrition: eating well and drinking enough water can impact our energy levels.
- Set time out every day to do at least one thing they enjoy: from cooking a healthy dinner, reading, or taking up a crafty hobby, having some time out to relax can help us manage our stress levels.
- Incorporate some mindfulness: even just spending 10 minutes a day on mindfulness can give you the time out to check in with yourself, evaluate how you’re feeling and how the day went. If you, or your employees, don’t want to sit still, yoga is a great alternative.
Provide professional support:
Not everyone will be able to manage alone all the time. So, it’s important that proper mental health support is in place.
Employee benefits like an employee assistance programme, give your employees access to professional mental health counselling. Not only is this supporting your employees, but it’s also showing that your workplace culture supports wellbeing and is breaking the stigma around mental health.
How we can help:
We know it isn’t always easy to know how to offer a comprehensive staff wellbeing programme that benefits all employees. If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your employees health and wellbeing, why not get in touch with our experts? They can help guide you through solutions and plans you can put in place to help your staff.