With more businesses operating remotely it’s important to consider how we can take day-to-day wellness practices from the workplace into the home. Now more than ever it is important to consider the different ways staff can be supported through continuing to foster positive workplace relationships, mental health support and keeping in mind staff’s personal well being.
Many people thrive in environments that allow them to interact with others regularly. When this is no longer feasible it can be difficult for them to adapt. Having a frequent touch-base strategy allows your staff to not only stay in the loop of the different projects and initiatives happening at work, but also allows them to interact with people outside of their homes. The Chamber has two staff touch-base meetings a week to allow us to connect with each other but also discuss how we can continue to support businesses across Waterloo Region.
A popular work from home addition has been to create a virtual “lounge” for your staff to pop into. First, you’ll need a virtual space to host. You can use your preferred video calling service for your staff – whether that’s ZOOM, Microsoft Teams or Skype, you will have your staff sign into their profile. Then, create an event where your staff can drop in. This allows staff to pop into the event when they have time and they can chat about their day, what they’re watching on Netflix – whatever they like. You can also choose to make these themed such as “Bring your pet to work day” and everyone talks about their furry (or scaly) best friend. This is just a fun way to have your staff connect with each other in an environment that isn’t work-related.
Mental health resources are very important during a worrying and anxiety-inducing time. A variety of resources have been provided during this time that can be relayed to your staff. On our COVID-19 Resources for your Business Webpage we have outlined various mental health resources from agencies such as Waterloo Region Public Health, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the World Health Organization. Familiarizing yourself with these resources can allow you to help employees and coworkers in their time of need.
It can be overwhelming to have your whole life change in an instant. This is causing many people to feel as though they need to “hustle hard” because of the “free time” they now have. It’s great to take the opportunity to freshen up a hobby or learn a new skill, but the emphasis of “hustle culture” or the idea that one must be continuously working hard is a leading cause of burn out. If your staff constantly pushes themselves to keep working and stretching themselves thin, they will eventually get to a point where it is very difficult for them to work effectively. Encouraging breaks and setting appropriate workplace boundaries (such as not answering emails after a certain time or ensuring staff take lunch breaks) do not stop in the physical workplace – they are even more important when working from home so staff can separate their personal life from their work life and establish healthy boundaries.
In our past blog “Adjusting to Working From Home” we talk about how you can set yourself up for success when working from home. Techniques such as having a defined work space, setting a routine for yourself and setting ground rules with additional people in the space allows for a clearer mind when working from home. Encouraging staff to keep these techniques in mind is a great way to check in to see how they are doing, while also establishing helpful guidelines to encourage them through working from home.
Want a fun way to treat your staff but also support local businesses? Several local businesses offer opportunities to send treats to your staff members’ homes. You could send them some donuts or coffee, a card in the mail or a virtual gift card so they can order-in some lunch. Small gestures like this are a great way to boost morale during such uncertain and worrying times. It’s the small things that can make a big difference for your staff!
With more distance from each other than usual, it’s essential to check in with your staff members to ensure they are participating in the same wellness practices that would be implemented in a physical workplace. Through these various strategies you can build a work from home work space that is still as connected and effective as your typical office space. For more information on additional resources that could benefit your business, please check out our COVID-19 Resources for your Business webpage.