A WFH Culture would top the “Wishlist” of many employees (and employers) until a year ago. To escape the tussle of waking up early and get rolling only to reach office before 10am and bail out from back-breaking commute was an Utopian dream come true. Who would imagine the greatest joy would turn into our greatest adversary? With employees being asked to install certain softwares on their laptops to monitor mouse movements and keyboard strokes, as well as keep track of the websites they visit, WFH has taken a toll on the mental health of many employees.
Some feel so overwhelmed by work that weekends become the new extension of weekdays. There is no mental sign of “done for the day” like the relief one previously used to get by coming back home after a long day because now, the distance between the work desk and bed is literally two steps. However a progressive workplace yearns for healthy employees and understands that Work From Home doesn’t mean Work 24/7. Below are some efficacious ways to support employees’ mental wellness, keep digging in:
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Although it seems that you have more time, the amount of hours in a day has not increased. De-structuring occurs as a result of a lack of limits, which leads to anxiety, a loss of control and a sense of helplessness. Family life is immensely impacted too. Maintain a daily routine; get some fresh air and provide the mind with other environmental stimuli. Owe the same amount of time to eating and resting as you would in an actual workplace.
Installing a web cam is always a bad idea because if you hired them, you trust them. Be considerate of their personal lives. Send them a deadline that is 30 minutes before the real deadline so that if there is an error, you still have time to correct it. It also compensates for the tendency to gain more control than is needed when the situation is not as dire as it once was.
Communicate your threshold
Overcommunicating and staying in touch is a pressing priority. If you’ve been working since 9am relentlessly and 5pm is your upper limit to perform then bring this into your employer’s notice. Remember, your employer is interested in your output and not the amount of extra hours you put in. There are some tormenting individuals who want you to be around 24/7, but being vocal about your capacity is your hands. Don’t burden your brain with undue stress.
Promote Team Building
A WFH setting was sudden and any organization's internal communication can be severely hampered as a result of this abrupt change. Employees should be reminded that they are working with people and not mindlessly interacting with gadgets. Often enquire about their wellbeing. Non-work interactions can be incorporated too- like Happy Hours on a Saturday evening having Netflix party and informal chats.
Introduce Anxiety Parties
This is inspired by Google Ventures as they used the concept of "Anxiety Parties" as a means of feedback for close-knit teams with a flat organisational structure. This strategy will be used by team members who have a high degree of respect and trust with one another and are willing to share their vulnerabilities.
An anxiety party is a simple get-together with coworkers that goes like this:
- Each team member takes ten minutes to write down their top concerns regarding their relationships with the other members, then lists them in order of seriousness.
- Members then take turns reading their anxieties aloud, and the rest of the group rates the individual on a 0-5 point scale, with 0 indicating "I never even considered this was a problem" and 5 indicating "I really believe you need to improve in this area."
- The team will then discuss how to deal with the anxieties that received higher scores.
- This allows an employee to evaluate which of his or her anxieties are irrational and which need to be addressed.
The world got hit by a Pandemic and adopting a WFH culture was the only feasible solution. However a healthy mental state of the individuals needs to be a priority. It is not only the responsibility of top executives, HR, presidents or bosses, but also of employees to ensure that these steps are effective and that the organisation emerges better than ever.