Five ways to continue to support employees working from home

Whether you love it or loathe it, working from home isn’t going away anytime soon. With companies such as Salesforce, Twitter and Spotify all announcing some form of flexible working model going forwards.

Five ways to continue to support employees working from home

It’s no surprise that the future of work looks to be more flexible, with studies finding an increase in productivity of 47% with employees working from home. But, with employees not in the office, it can be difficult to support their health and wellbeing.

Here are five ways to support employees working from home:

1. Make sure everyone stays connected

From grabbing a coffee together to bumping into someone in the corridor or having a chat with the person you sit next to; the office provided many opportunities for us to be social with our colleagues. Now that many of us are working from home, it can be difficult to replicate those interactions.

Add in a national lockdown and your employees’ social wellbeing maybe struggling and they may be feeling isolated or lonely. But there are some ways you can help your employees feel more connected. You could try encouraging small informal chat channels in your teams, so they can talk about their day like they would in the office.

You could also have socials during company time, whether that’s a coffee and a catch up in the morning or spending the last half an hour of a Friday doing something fun like a bake-along or quiz. If you’re not sure what your employees would find most engaging, why not ask them? You might find some talented people among your team who would love to showcase their hobby!

2. Make work-life balance a priority

When we’re remote working, it can make the separation between our work and our home lives tricky. There’s no more commute to act as a signal that the workday is over and it’s now time to relax. Your employees might be struggling with this and, if left, it can lead to employee burnout, so make sure you’re encouraging them to prioritise their work life balance by:

  • taking breaks throughout the day: from a morning tea break to a walk at lunch or an afternoon snack, it’s important to get away from our screen throughout the day
  • starting and finishing on time: when we’re already at home, it can be easy to justify staying late to finish one task or to catch up on emails. But doing so cuts into our rest time, which is important for our physical and mental health
  • make sure senior leaders are role models of work-life balance: having the senior leadership of your business taking breaks, getting outdoors and not sending emails outside of work hours, ensures that everyone feels comfortable doing the same.

3. Support employees in creating the right environment

Whether they’re working in a shared house, working from a dining room table or they’ve got the space for a dedicated office, having the correct working equipment is important for your employees’ physical health. Not having a suitable set up that encourages good posture can lead to back and muscle problems. Ensure you provide your employees with the right set up – whether this is giving your employees funds to deck out their desk, or upgrading their equipment like second screens or ergonomic chairs.

4. Be flexible and relaxed

The current lockdown isn’t the easiest on working parents, who are having to balance working while helping their kids with remote learning. Adopting a more flexible working policy can benefit all employees. If employees are still meeting agreed deadlines or targets, letting them work when they’re most productive is beneficial for everyone.

5. Offer support if they need it

We are all living through difficult times, and it can take a toll on our mental health. Whether you have mental health first aiders who can help support people and raise awareness of mental health issues, or even an employee assistance programme to give employees someone to talk to, make sure they know that you’re there to support them, whatever they’re going through.

The author is Jamie Mackenzie, director at Sodexo Engage.

This article is provided by Sodexo Engage.

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