With recent government guidance asking anyone who can work from home to do so, many charities and businesses across the country have said goodbye to office life and returned to remote-working conditions - possibly for the foreseeable future.
On the one hand, remote-working can be really beneficial for both you and your staff – for example, you could both reduce your organisation’s office-running costs, as well as save your employees and volunteers money on transport.
But on the flip-side, while some people thrive under isolated conditions, a new survey by Nuffield Health has found that 80% of UK workers feel that working from home has negatively impacted their mental health.
Depending on your Local COVID Alert Level, you may have no choice but to ask your staff to work from home - at least for now.
But with a clear potential impact on workers’ mental health, it’s going to be increasingly vital to take steps to support your staff while working from home.
Here are 3 easy ways to do just that.
How to support your staff and volunteers while working from home
1. Encourage self-care
It can be easy to fall into unhealthy habits at the best of times, let alone when you’re working from home and isolated for months on end. Encouraging your staff and volunteers to get into a healthy daily routine could have a positive impact on their mental health, both while remote-working and when they return to the office.
Part of a healthy routine is making sure you’re taking enough breaks, as it can be easy to burn out when you’re hunched over your laptop for 9 hours a day. Amazingly, 36% of Brits surveyed said that “not being in the physical presence of colleagues means many people feel unable to take a break and step away from their workstations.”
With this in mind, it could be beneficial to remind your employees that no-one will judge them if they go offline for an hour while they enjoy their lunch – and may even make them more productive in the long run.
2. Share useful resources
One in four adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem each year. But even for those that don’t suffer from any pre-existing conditions, remote-working could still have a considerable impact on the mental health of those who crave human interaction.
There are lots of resources out there that can support with mental health concerns, so why not share these with your staff to let them know they’re not alone while working from home?
These websites could be a good place to start, as they have downloadable content you can easily share:
Outside of this, you could go “hands-on” and try leading your staff in group activities via zoom to promote mindulness, such as remote meditation sessions or yoga. This will not only help your colleagues connect on a personal level, but could ultimately increase productivity.
3. Prioritise “face-time” with staff
When everyone’s working from home, it can be easy to get “tunnel vision” and forget to check in regularly with staff and colleagues – it’s just a lot easier to catch up when you’re all sat next to each other!
But social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t do some distanced socialising!
Set up regular video calls with your staff and colleagues to stay connected – there are loads of free conference call services available that make it easy to connect from afar.
Protecting your charity
No matter whether your staff are working from home or from an office, it’s still important to make sure you have the right charity insurance in place - both to safeguard your charity’s income and fulfil your legal requirements.
With over thirty years’ experience and over 3,000 not-for-profit customers in the UK, we work with market-leading insurers to provide competitive coverage, expert consultation and specialist advice for charities, community groups and not for profit organisations.
Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 guidance by visiting the government website.