4 Ways to Manage Your Team’s Mental Health & Morale Remotely

An analysis spanning multiple UK industries found that over 90% of workers in the UK experience workplace stress, with workload, job insecurity and conflict with colleagues and managers among the most common causes. Stress or demotivation at work can aggravate employees' pre-existing physical and mental health conditions and affect their lives outside of work too.

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Stress or demotivation at work can aggravate employees' pre-existing physical and mental health conditions and affect their lives outside of work too. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, over 17 million working days were lost to mental health-related conditions in 2018 - and many companies are investing in long-term mental health and wellbeing initiatives to counteract lost productivity, along with making the workplace a happier and healthier place to be. Along with the benefits to workforce productivity, investment in mental health initiatives has the power to enhance your employer brand and help to attract top talent - in fact, over half (53%) of job seekers would more likely to apply for work with companies that have mental health and wellbeing policies in place.

The impact of remote work on mental health

Although offering remote work is attractive to employees and candidates because of the flexibility and savings it provides, aspects of working from home can have an impact on employees’ mental health and morale. Some of the challenges include:

  • Loneliness
    The camaraderie built through social interaction in the office can help relieve stress and offer motivation for the rest of the workday. On the other hand, the limited in-person interaction that comes with a remote working setup can make employees feel isolated and anxious. It can feel harder to let off steam or talk through a problem when you aren’t face to face with your colleagues.
  • Working hours
    A Working From Home survey by the digital teambuilding events provider Wildgoose found that over one third (36%) of respondents tend to work longer hours when they’re at home, and almost three quarters (73%) of respondents to a Moneypenny poll answer e-mails and calls outside of normal working hours, which can lead to poor work-life balance and a greater risk of burnout.
  • Communication difficulties
    The cues from body language and tone of voice that we rely on to understand each other can be harder to pick up when communicating virtually. While some remote workers may find their managers ‘check in’ with them far too often, making them feel overwhelmed and as if they are not trusted, others can feel they lack the support and leadership they would get from their manager in-person.

Here are four tactics you can use to support your employees’ mental wellbeing and maintain team morale remotely:

  • Organise one-to-one sessions
    Schedule regular one-to-one virtual drop-ins with your team. If you can’t meet in person, a video call is the next best thing - so that you can see each other face-to-face instead of just communicating through online chats or emails. A traditional phone call can sometimes be a good option too, especially as some people will spend most of their working day on video calls, so a phone call can be a welcome change and more of what we’re used to. Remote drop-in sessions give you the chance to check in with each employee, to see how they’re doing and to offer support if you notice signs they might be struggling, such as a change in their behaviour or a lack of engagement with their work. Make them aware of any wellbeing support they can access through the company, or recommend additional resources and apps. Encourage them to tell you what they are finding difficult and put a positive action plan in place together – this could include breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, goal-setting, and tracking their progress and accomplishments to keep them motivated.
  • Establish new routines
    Encourage your team to create and stick to a new routine when working from home, including having a designated workspace as well as sticking to a regular time to start and end their workday. Remind them to take regular breaks and ensure that your team are clear on when they are expected to be reachable, so that they don’t feel guilty about enjoying well-earned downtime.
  • Communicate effectively
    Although regular check-ins are necessary, frequent virtual meetings can cause ‘Zoom fatigue’, according to Twingate and Doodle surveys. Pollsters found that people have to spend more effort processing visual cues from the other people they see on screen than they would in person. To reduce the mental strain which can be caused by videoconferencing, consider whether it's better to share files or send an email round-up instead of conducting a virtual meeting. Try to keep sessions no more than 30 minutes long, or incorporate a short break mid-way through.
  • Recognise success
    Take the time to acknowledge individual and team successes. Giving praise and expressing thanks becomes an even more important part of leading and motivating your team in the absence of culture-building office activities. From ecards to a simple email, there are plenty of ways to take recognise your team remotely and ensure they feel valued and appreciated. There are also social recognition platforms now available (such as Xexec or Perkbox) that allow team leaders to commend and reinforce positive behaviours across the team.

Adecco can help put the right people on your team and give you the support and resources you need to keep them there. To learn more, contact us today.



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