Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more insights.

Sign up.

3 Ways You Can Support the Wellbeing of Your Remote Employees

May 03, 2021   ·  

Since the majority of the globe transitioned to remote working, stress levels have gone through the roof. In the UK, a 2020 survey showed 79% experience work-related stress—a 20% increase since 2018. Only 39% of companies are actively offering stress management policies despite stress-related healthcare expenditures already exceeding £10 billion in 2020.


Gone are the days that effective leaders are only expected to bring in profit. Sustainably successful organisations are now expected to—and should—provide a healthy work environment for all employees. Now, as the remote working model becomes the norm, here are some companies and equipment that can help support your employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, even as they work from their own homes.


Tune In To Your Team

Presently, over 72% of employees report feeling burned out. On top of this, data collected from 1,000 employees showed that more than 54% felt uncomfortable talking to their supervisors about mental health even though it was causing them significant harm. While 35% of employees said they would rather discuss problems with their co-workers, only 5% spoke to an HR representative. Aside from fears of judgement or embarrassment, employees are wary of being met with less-than stellar responses to their feelings. Some team supervisors play up leadership qualities they think are helpful like being a “positivity threat” or “a fixer”.

But these are only superficial solutions, if at all. Leaders struggle to hear the truth because we continue to perpetuate beliefs about work that involve putting a positive spin on everything – “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions”.  Learn about your employees’ personal lives—not to use them against them—so that you have an idea of where they’re coming from. And work models have changed, it’s fair to say that the way you can connect with your employees should adapt, too. For most people, opening up about how they’re feeling at work is too risky (particularly when they’re not doing too well), so consider using a platform like Harkn where people can anonymously rate and share how they’re doing, which provides managers with key wellbeing insights and alerts when people are struggling. It’s not enough to wait to hear or see them (especially not in person), so nurturing a virtual open-door policy can help initiate conversation.


Encourage Work-Life Balance

Having poor work-life balance is not just bad for your current employees, but even for prospective ones. Reports from millennial workers—who make up more than half of the workforce—show that over 80% consider work-life balance before taking on positions.

Learn to respect your team’s time, even if they’re just at home. Remember, only their workstation changed but not their workload. Avoid messaging after hours, and definitely don’t message on weekends. Make sure to engage with them on more than just professional issues, especially since the lines between work and home have blurred. If you can, try creating personalised work schedules for each team member. This will allow them to accomplish tasks without the pressures of a one-size fits all standard. While you’re at it, try offering a variety of mindfulness exercises. These can range from one-minute desk mediations to full-length yoga classes. Teaching your staff—including leadership—about mindfulness, makes it easier to be resilient and present, rather than frenetic and overloaded.


Provide Them With The Right Workplace Tools

There’s a reason office design is becoming an important consideration. Having the right tools and ambiance can support productivity and lessen unnecessary distractions. Ideally, your remote staff should be empowered with the same hardware and software that they would be entitled to at work. If they are tasked with analysing complex data lines, send them a company computer and processor—you may even want to cover the monthly power expenses for these items! Because the average employee spends anywhere from four to nine hours just sitting, you can opt to send your staff ergonomic office equipment, such as chairs and desks. These are specially built to support the musculoskeletal system, which helps maintain circulation, productivity, and proper spinal alignment.

Achieving a healthy workplace should not just be an optional endeavour. If you want to foster a sustainable and well-rounded organisation, especially as the UK adopts a new hybrid work model, you must value holistic wellness for every employee near or far.


- Jennifer Birch

Happiness at workWellbeing

Further reading