Supporting your employees' mental health as they work remotely
One in five employees reported that their employer had offered additional mental health services since the start of the pandemic–down from 35% last year. Onebright’s commitment to delivering accessible mental health training to more people is helping employers support their employees in this new digital landscape.
Did you know that poor mental health collectively costs UK employers up to £45 billion each year? The research on this figure, conducted by Deloitte, gives insights into how employers can tackle this problem, finding that it pays to invest in employees’ mental health.
On average, for every £1 spent supporting their worker’s mental health, employers get £5 back on their investment in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover.
Remote working has presented challenges for companies of all sizes.
Regardless of the size, one true thing is that meeting the need for connection and camaraderie is key to a healthy and productive working environment. When random office chats are no longer possible, teams can struggle to stay motivated at a distance, which makes regular mental health check-ins more critical than they’ve ever been.
How can employers support mental health in their remote workers while maintaining trust and respecting autonomy?
It all starts with your managers. Even in the most challenging and uncertain times, managers can show certain leadership habits in supporting their staff to encourage an open and honest conversation around employee mental health.
A new Catalyst survey shows managers who express vulnerability in the workplace have stronger teams who are more willing to “go above and beyond”. Yet, in this survey of over 12,000 employees, they found that only 24% of respondents said their manager was often or always vulnerable. While HR and managers are not experts in mental health, there is an opportunity to foster a virtual workplace culture of openness.
It may feel uncomfortable at first and even more unfamiliar in a virtual setting. Still, leaders who can talk about and show a broad spectrum of emotions are role models for healthy behaviours.
Not having to ‘cover’ someone’s true self is essential for creating a ‘psychologically safe’ virtual workplace. Once workers feel psychologically safe, they feel like they can make mistakes without penalty or reach out for help to a colleague without any stigma attached.
Another key area where managers can support mental health remotely is through meaningful, consistent communication. It can be difficult given that it is unlikely they see every employee every day when working remotely; this is where signs of an employee struggling can fly under the radar for a long time. However, when managers can demonstrate their awareness and understanding of how commonplace conditions such as anxiety and depression can be, this can remove part of the stress of trying to hide the problem on those occasions when someone checks in.
Onebright recommends employers are very clear when communicating what staff are entitled to by reinforcing the following:
- Workers are entitled to be heard
- Workers can have a confidential conversation about mental health problems and how it’s affecting their work
- Workers can ask for help
- Workers can have these requests promptly dealt with
Utilising the latest digital innovations, Onebright offers companies, both small and global, industry-leading, expert mental health training courses using a newly designed (co-created with clinicians) digital platform. Our training courses empower your workforce to develop life-enhancing techniques to cope with daily life pressures when working remotely.
Whether employees log in after a hard day to complete some stress management modules or use our evidence-driven mindfulness exercises during a lunch break, working remotely doesn’t need to come at the expense of a talented employee’s mental health.
Our specialist team of trainers of clinicians and academics, many of whom also have international business experience, can meet your unique training needs.