When switching to working from home during the pandemic, it became clear that the risk of a burnout is high. Employees feel pressured to work more. Suddenly there is no longer a clear separation between work life and private life and you have to set your own bounderies
But even if we can (more or less) clearly set our boundaries, mental health is not automatically given while working from home In this article you can find out how you as an employer can support your employees.
mental health at work
The hard facts (Source: Initiative neue Qualität der Arbeit ):
- At 43 percent, mental illness and behavioral disorders are the most common cause of early retirement due to illness
- In 2017, mental illness caused 107 million days of sick leave
- Emotional demands in particular can affect mental health in the workplace.
Remote work could be a solution for two of the three most common reasons for mental stress in the workplace. Because in addition to the fear of losing your job, the focus is on the lack of compatibility between work and private life. On the one hand, employees fear that their private demands will have a negative impact on their work performance. But what is even more significant is that many employees are exposed to a permanent level of stress due to overtime or inflexible working hours. Because private life and care work are waiting at home and must also be mastered.
Remote work as a solution to work-related mental illness?
In terms of mental health, remote work can have many positive effects. Once you get used to remote work, you can work flexibly from anywhere. You can plan yourself when you want to take breaks and at the same time the productivity of the employees can be increased because they feel more comfortable in the environment they have designed. We have already written a blog post about motivated work in the home office, which you can view here . But how can you, as an employer, support your colleagues in maintaining their mental health in the home office?
What you can do as an employer to support your colleagues and their mental health
In addition to the usual approaches such as development opportunities, a pleasant working atmosphere and fair payment, it is important to recognize resources and reduce the individual burden. Above all, a strong sense of community within colleagues and fair, supportive interactions on the part of superiors can greatly reduce psychological stress.
Promote social contacts
Make sure that despite working from home, social contacts between employees are possible and develop. Joint meetings, team events or WhatsApp groups are helpful here. You can find ideas for good relationship building in online teams here .
Promote separation of work and private life
Keep an eye on the fact that there are clear boundaries between private life and work, even from the management level. Another quick question via WhatsApp in the evening? A quick call to clarify an important question? No – that can also wait for tomorrow, because if you didn’t work in the home office, you wouldn’t be able to reach each other after work. One way to encourage this separation is to provide work laptops and cell phones. In this way, the exchange can be actively structured and availability after work can be restricted.
Lead by example
The manager himself works in the home office and is just as affected by the psychological stress as the employees. The extra challenge here, however, is that no supervisor can see when enough is enough and when the stress limit has been reached.
Take good care of yourself and set a good example . Stick to your fixed working hours, draw boundaries between private and professional life and take care of enough social contacts inside and outside of your work. In this way you also give your employees the space to do the same and at the same time you can act as a motivating role model.
Check out this post for more tips and tricks for managing remote teams.
There are many different ways and ideas to promote mental health in the home office. The best way to find out which path is right for you and your team is to simply ask your colleagues. What do they need? What is good for them? How can you support them?