When COVID happened, many companies responded by sending teammates home to work remotely. Now, telework options are exploding with no end in sight with big-name companies like Google, Capital One, and Zillow leading the charge. For some, this technological age has been a long time coming. But for many, the shift has been hard.
THE TELEWORK CHALLENGE
Though teleworking during the pandemic has successfully kept workers apart physically, protecting their physical health, it has also led to high levels of social separation. Alone in their homes all day with nowhere to go, no events to attend, and no in-person connection, many remote workers have begun to experience a new teleworking side effect: declining mental health.
Though correcting this problem may not be easy, we can start by recognizing and accepting the “extreme environmental stressors” every single one of us is currently facing. Truth is, we’ve always had environmental stressors: getting to soccer practice on time (why is soccer always the example??), the car needing routine maintenance, watching unrest unfold in public, witnessing natural disasters, etc. We’ve all also experienced personal stressors: the health conditions of a loved one, our own personal health conditions, death of a loved one, divorce, becoming a caregiver, struggling with infertility, and so on. These stressors, many of which can be incredibly intense, have been ever-present in our lives and the lives of our team members forever. But now we’ve topped it all off with a literal, pandemic-level stressor. It’s no wonder we’re all questioning our sanity right now.
STAYING SANE: A NEW MODEL
As the mental health of remote workers is challenged, many business owners are now asking, “How do I help my team stay sane during these times?” We all need resources right now, which is why you’ll find a link at the bottom of this blog to download our free, simple guide, “Staying Sane During Insane Times. ” We designed it specifically to support business owners, entrepreneurs, and their teams through COVID and beyond.
The problem is, too much has been asked of our workers. The 2019 “loyal employee model,” which I liken to Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree, asked team members to give everything they had, over and over, forever. Even though many were willing to go the extra mile, it was eventually too much, and they had nothing left to give.
It was a broken model to begin with, and, with the added stressors of COVID and remote working, it cannot fly in 2020. The world is a new place now, and, as the mental health of remote workers indicates, we need a new model to match.
We need a model that supports workers, recognizes individual efforts, and helps every teammate see how their contributions directly influence the company’s ability to achieve its mission. We must show them how, by doing their part, they are helping to make the world a better place. Only with this knowledge can they learn to restore their energy, reclaim their freedom, and live purposefully and passionately, regardless of whether they work in an office or from home.
THE FIRST STEP
How do you get your remote team focused, engaged, and motivated? The first step is to acknowledge the impact of COVID and telework on your team and their mental health. Acknowledge the problem, and accept it for what it is.
Then, measure its impact. Start listening to your team. What are their needs? Once you’re clear on what’s needed, you can make an action plan on how to relieve some of that pressure.
Next, take action. Remain open to feedback on how well your action plan is working. Is it having a positive impact on your team’s overall mental health?
Lastly, head back to the first step, and repeat. Just as one day at the gym won’t leave you looking like Dwayne Johnson, mental health is a regular, ongoing practice. It is a commitment to make your company a mentally healthy place to work… and to make your own mind a mentally healthy place to live.
Ready to learn how to stay sane during insane times?
Get the free eBook, designed for business owners and their teams, right here.
Until next, stay safe, and stay sane.