Take a breath. Rest your eyes. Get some fresh air. These are common sense actions, but teams that work remotely can forget to take care of themselves – especially if they feel isolated. Leaders can help foster a healthy team by actively promoting beneficial habits. Here are ways to boost healthiness with a remote team and prioritise mental wellbeing.
Acknowledge the need for flexibility
The invisible line between home and work life has all but vanished in recent months. Working families have always needed flexibility, and now that need has become visible for everyone who is trying to balance responsibilities. Instead of trying to pretend that it is business as usual, now is the time to embrace the idea of work and life fluidity.
Reset the schedule
Working from home can mean schedules are thrown off with family members around or other non-work obligations popping up. Managers can help by being understanding and flexible. If workers aren’t available first thing in the morning, that may mean they can be more productive at night. Expecting an at-home workforce to be available all the time is a recipe for burnout. Allow the team to work around their schedules as work is always at their fingertips, and set healthy boundaries where work stops for the day or week.
Take breaks and recharge
Working from home is not a vacation. In fact, additional stress can be felt as work seems ever-present. The human body and mind need downtime and regular rest periods. Employees who push themselves for long periods of time and then cram all their holiday time into one vacation – or don’t take their full allotted time off – aren’t receiving optimal recovery which can hamper long term productivity and morale.
Cut down on email
Inboxes may be filling up faster than normal when working remotely, since e-communication replaces many meetings and in-person conversations. Help ease the burden of email by taking tasks and to-dos for teams into a separate project management tool, or even a centralised shared document. When the responsibility of constantly checking emails is eased, workers can concentrate more meaningfully on assignments.
Along with professional goals, managers should work with team members to define personal goals that help balance their pursuits outside of work. Then help them reach these goals and give them time and flexibility to work on this side of their development. Creating a roadmap to these goals will help realise tangible progress, meeting by meeting.
Ultimately, a manager can’t be available for check-ins all the time. That’s were assigning accountability partners can help. Colleagues working together can look out for each other, send helpful check-in reminders throughout the day, and even take virtual fresh air breaks together to talk and socialise. Managers can encourage these peer-to-peer connections to foster a cohesive team.