Supporting your employees' mental health as they work remotely
But how can employers support mental health in their remote workers while maintaining the 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 need to be very clear on 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.