I believe that we can all agree the past three years have been one heck of a wild ride. From lockdowns, homeschooling, and social distancing, to inflation, the great resignation and revenge travel, it’s been a turbulent time both at work and at home. Bridging the gap between work and home is the accelerated shift to remote or hybrid workplaces. According to a LinkedIn Economic analysis, it is predicted that 36 million Americans will be working remotely in 2025, a 417% increase from pre-pandemic levels.
This is a topic that hits quite literally close to home for me. During the lockdown in early 2020, I, like many people, quickly pivoted to what I thought would be a temporary work from home situation. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and as the weeks turned to months and then years, I settled into a permanent at home routine. Personally, I find a great deal of value in being more present with my family as well as saving both time and money with my short 5 second commute.
But let’s not forget that remote work can have its downside. In 2021, the American Psychological Association conducted a survey of 1,000 remote workers. The majority reported they experienced negative mental health impacts, including feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- 54% said their employer had become more accommodating to their mental health needs.
- 1 in 5 said their employer offered additional mental health services.
- More than 4 in 10 are concerned about retaliation if they seek mental health care or take time off for their mental health.
With this cultural shift in how we live and work, employers should focus on how to connect and support employees in, and out of the physical office. How do you reach employees to foster a connection to their company culture and keep them informed on the mental health resources available?
As an employer, you can better reach employees, wherever they are, with a few simple communication tools in your belt. Consider:
- Integrating a messaging platform like Slack on your employee website to push out helpful information like webinars, open office hours and networking events.
- Monthly or quarterly email newsletters to keep employees in-the-know on pertinent health topics including timely tips and strategies. Don’t forget to remind them of the resources available.
- An employee benefits app with access to all the necessary resources right at their fingertips.
From financial wellness initiatives like student loan payoff to stress management and employee assistance programs, communicating and encouraging the full range of employee wellness initiatives are a pivotal part of the future of work. Fostering a strong, healthy workplace should be a top priority.
Be present to your employees. Foster connection and camaraderie, even when apart. Schedule meetups or team-building events to provide employees with healthy outlets (and escapes, if need be 😉) from the walls of their homes. Allow and offer access points to reach out with feedback or to ask for help.
Remind them that you, as a company, are still in this together.