This article is written by Olivia Coughtrie, Director at Oriel Partners PA Recruitment 

This article is a guide on promoting wellbeing whilst employees are working remotely from home.  It will cover the reasons on why the wellbeing of an employee is so important and how this can affect the way they work, their productivity and their mental health.  It will also cover what makes an employee happy, what motivates them and how to help an employee work well from home.

Why Is The Wellbeing Of An Employee So Important

The most important asset of any business is it’s employees.  Without good employee engagement and productivity the business will ultimately fail and the wellbeing of the workforce plays a key part in the performance of these employees.  Their wellbeing can not only have a negative impact on their daily lives, which employers have a responsibility towards, but anxiety and depression will result in sick leave and a high staff turnover.  A positive and happy work culture is therefore essential to keep your employees motivated and successful.

What Makes Employees Happy

An employee’s mental and physical wellbeing is essential for their happiness.   This has never been more important than in these challenging times of Covid 19, where people have suddenly had no option but to work remotely from home, resulting in many losing that strong office culture.  Employees enjoy positive interaction with their colleagues, feed off the energy of others, and generally have a sense of purpose working in a team environment where they are valued and supported.  A sense of achievement is also instrumental for most employees’ wellbeing and acknowledgment of their successes however small.  

Reports have shown that although financial rewards do make employees happy and are good to attract talent, this happiness is in fact fairly short lived and day to day experiences have much more of an impact on their general mental wellbeing. The significance of physical wellbeing can’t be overlooked either, it has been extensively proven that exercise produces “happy endorphins” which help relieve stress and depression.

Helping Your Employees Work Remotely

  • High staff morale is imperative for a successful business, and monitoring and keeping this is much more challenging whilst employees are working remotely.  Making sure that your employees have all the right technical tools to keep them connected whilst working from home is a must as well as providing training if needed and a helpline for any technical issues. 
  • Working remotely can make many employees feel lonely and isolated so setting up video conferences using apps such as Zoom are essential in keeping employees talking face to face and keeping that all important connection with their colleagues. Lack of contact can make people feel undervalued and worthless, therefore diarising regular catch-ups during the day is a great way to keep everyone focussed and working well together.  
  • Make sure your employees have their goals and expectations set out well.  When working remotely it can be hard to stay focussed and clear objectives and time scales will help with this.  Let people have access to shared calendars in their group if possible to give then an insight into what their colleagues are up to and a sense of unity.  Also it is a good idea to roll out a screen sharing application and also a group instant messaging app to give people another way of communicating.
  • Do ask your employees how they are feeling and really listen to them.  Train your managers to spot signs of someone struggling and anxious and how to cope with this.  Open communication should be encouraged and talking about mental health is nothing to be embarrassed about.  Showing that you care about your staff’s mental and physical health and that they are not alone will help employees with their overall wellbeing.  If your company is large enough, designate members of staff as ‘go to people’ for any wellbeing matters, where your employees know they can have a private informal chat.  Share links to mental health websites, let them know that how they are feeling is normal especially during times of change and uncertainty.
  • Social interaction for your employees plays an important part in keeping people positive and engaged.  Encourage your employees to have virtual social gatherings and catch-ups. Virtual lunches and coffee breaks, where they can discuss non work related subjects will keep the fun, social element of the office.  Make sure you arrange and attend some of the social activities.  There are some fun virtual exercise classes out there too for your teams. 
  • Lastly, help your employees set out their work/life boundaries whilst working remotely.  If expectations have been discussed then no feelings of guilt or anxiety should arise when employees switch off for lunch, at the end of their working day or taking time out for a private matter.  A good work/life balance is essential for their wellbeing and working remotely has allowed us to change working patterns and have more flexibility. 

About the Author 

Olivia Coughtrie is Co-founder & Director at Oriel Partners a PA and administrative recruitment consultancy based in Central London. Olivia is passionate about helping PA & VA candidates to stand out from the crowd.