COVID-19 & Mental Health: 5 Ways to Boost Remote Staff Morale

Peninsula Team

September 23 2020

A recent survey by Angus Reid found that many Canadians are experiencing COVID-19 fatigue and anxiety. Besides an economic crisis, the pandemic also poses a mental health threat

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again. It seems we’ll be socially distancing for the foreseeable future.

If you’ve been running your operations remotely, chances are you may be doing so for next few months as well. It is important that you help your staff set up a remote work-life balance and take steps to keep their morale up. Being able to manage stress better will help increase the productivity and overall well being of your employees. 

Here are some good practices we recommend:

Connect your staff to resources they need

Office resources

Make sure your employees have the tools they need to work safely and efficiently from home. Home office ergonomics and safety in the remote workplace tips are some of the content resources we have provided to better equip you and your employees. 

Wellness resources

Your staff may be worried for their health or finances. They may be struggling with anxiety, pandemic fatigue, loneliness and even depression. It is important that you educate your staff about the existing mental health resources offered by the federal and provincial governments. If you offer an Employee Assistance Program, remind your workers about it and how to access it. 

Be accessible

Hold regular town hall meetings via video conferencing and be visible and available to your employees. Recognize good work. Provide constructive feedback and also ask for feedback on the new measures you may have introduced during the pandemic.

Make a clear roadmap for your business — even if it is for the short term — and share it with your staff.

Allow for flexible work shifts where needed. Some employees may be juggling parenting or caregiving responsibilities at home along with work. Make sure they are clear on what is expected from them. Then give them the freedom to take ownership of their tasks, manage their day and do their best.

Encourage self-care

Some remote workers may have difficulty segmenting home and work. Encourage your staff to strive for a work-life balance and stick to a healthy work routine. Talk to them about the importance of self-care, like eating healthy and regular meals, staying connected, getting enough sleep and exercise. 

Stay connected virtually

Check in regularly with your remote staff. Watch out for signs of stress, such as drop in productivity, changes in personality, visible fatigue, increased levels of sensitivity or deliberate isolation. 

Your employees who live by themselves may be feeling isolated in addition to being anxious and stressed. Use video conferencing software to stay connected virtually. You could organize weekly or monthly virtual socials or activities to help your team bond even while working remotely.   

Create a Slack channel or a Microsoft Teams chat (or whichever collaborative software you use) solely for socializing. Invite your employees to share memes, GIFs, interesting news articles, parenting advice, recipes, fitness tips, photos, etc. This will help start conversations between team members and help them bond over shared interests.  

Involve your staff in community volunteer programs

Eventually, most of us will feel fatigued by the pandemic restrictions. It is natural to feel weary and restless after months of being socially isolated and cooped indoors. However, you can help your employees combat negativity by giving back to the community. 

Volunteering helps reduce stress, anxiety and social isolation. It will help you and your staff feel positive and purposeful you help others during this tough time. It could be something as simple as donating funds or PPE for healthcare workers. Or packing and delivering meals, running errands for elderly residents, virtually volunteering at retirement homes, etc.

Looking for more information on a remote work policy for your business?

For advice on HR and health and safety policies during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.

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