Prior to Covid-19 remote working was becoming more common, and 40% of full-time employees were expected to transition to remote working over the next 10 years. However, that 10 years has been brought forward significantly and the number already transitioning to a greater or lesser degree is likely to be at least 40%.

Companies have a unique opportunity to re-imagine the way their business can operate, but not being prepared for or truly embracing remote working could be a stumbling block that could impact the bottom line. 

Want to learn more? Read: ‘How to make remote working stick beyond the pandemic

Remote working isn’t just the future; it’s already here. Millions of employees are already working from home on a part- or full-time basis. How companies, managers and individuals leverage this new trend to their advantage will determine their success in the coming decades.

With Mental Health Awareness Week just around the corner (10-16 May 2021), there are many ways in which organisations can help relieve the loneliness and anxiety experienced by their employees. “Things like depression, anxiety, loneliness have significantly increased since the onset of the pandemic. Because of that, we’re talking about it more, which in some respects, is one of the positives,” says Jonny Jacobs, finance director EMEA at Starbucks.

Hear more about what Starbucks is doing for it’s teams and colleagues, here!

With returning back to the office on the horizon and teams figuring out the “new normal”, there is an important role we can all play, here are some examples:

  • Encourage an open culture where employees feel they can talk about their mental health.
  • Introduce a ‘mental health at work’ policy to ensure staff know what support is available, and how mental health in the workplace is managed and provide emergency contacts.
  • Develop awareness of mental health among employees – identify what it is, and what mental ill-health means.
  • Adopt a mental health first aid scheme with trained members of staff who can identify the signs of ill-health and who can provide support and raise awareness.
  • Promote the support available such as employee assistance helplines, training, counselling and any other benefits.
  • Encourage staff to maintain a routine – planning their time and taking their holidays.
  • Ensure employees are not working excessive hours and have a healthy work-life balance.
  • Provide training covering topics such as managing stress, mindfulness and personal resilience, as well as training for managers and senior staff on supporting employees. 
  • Promote the use of technology for both work and socialising and encourage staff to maintain informal discussions while working remotely.
  • Being an approachable and sympathetic manager is particularly important for members of staff and make the time to have regular catch-ups.  

Engaging with employees on what they will find helpful is essential both for the wellbeing of the individual and the business. Being an employer known to look after mental health proactively and to support employees will help to attract and retain an excellent team… Win-win!