6 mental health challenges every remote leader must have on their radar

For far too long, discussing mental health was deemed a workplace taboo. To this day, 60% of employees keep quiet about their psychological wellbeing. With many workers experiencing some level of stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health support is particularly crucial.

Leader supporting team's mental health remotely

Lifting the curtain on workplace wellbeing

Mental health struggles are far from one-off occurrences; as much as 80% of the population will face a challenge of this nature. Consequently, research shows that the vast majority of employees believe company culture should support mental health; 86% of respondents in a Harvard Business Review study agree with this statement.

The same report suggests that actively addressing mental health concerns yields a host of benefits. Providing employees with the support they need improves engagement levels while simultaneously bolstering recruitment and retention efforts.

Happy and engaged furloughed employee at home


7 ways to support the mental health of furloughed employees

May 18 to May 24 marks Mental Health Awareness Week. In response to the pressures of a global crisis, mental health has taken on even greater significance within the workplace. Unily is taking this opportunity to show how an employee experience platform can support the mental health of furloughed employees and ensure that people feel ready to return to work.

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6 emotional challenges associated with remote work and how to solve them

Past weeks have proven particularly challenging for many, as workplaces across the globe adapt to the challenges and changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the importance of mental health support has come to the forefront.

Impactful initiatives should align with the concerns most prevalent amongst your workforce. There are six central challenges that every leader should prioritize:

#1. Isolation

The problem: Loneliness is on the rise

Research from Cigna finds that 61% of adults experience a sense of isolation and much of this sentiment is correlated with their workplace. A rise in remote work is likely to exacerbate feelings of loneliness, as employees who have grown accustomed to group lunches and team meetings no longer have a colleague to turn to.

The solution: Use every channel at your disposal to cultivate connectivity

There’s no way around it: IRL office happy hours and team-building excursions are off the table, at least for the time being. However, bonding initiatives are not out of reach; they just need to be reimagined. Leaders should take the initiative to drive communications across various social channels and plan virtual team meetings.

Exploring new mediums for connection can yield promising results: after implementing a custom virtual hug feature, one of our clients experienced at 14% rise in social activity across their intranet. By arming your workforce with compelling digital outlets, your organization can efficiently combat loneliness and encourage new outlets for self-expression and sharing.

'How to fuel a positive culture for remote workers' guide flat pages


How to fuel a positive culture for remote workers

Even under normal working conditions, cultivating a positive culture is both a challenge and a priority. Remote work can add an additional layer of complexity because it’s more difficult for dispersed workforces to unite under one vision. Paired with proper strategy and open lines of communication, the right set of digital tools can fuel a positive culture that boosts employee satisfaction and encourages every user to reach peak performance.

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#2. Burnout

The problem: An always-on mentality

Many employees are overwhelmed by their to-do lists; 77% of workers report feeling burnout at their current job, according to Deloitte. The move to remote work can exacerbate this always-on mentality by blurring the lines between work and play.

The solution: Encourage balance

70% of professionals believe their employer is not doing enough to alleviate burnout within their organization. Be the exception to the rule by looking out for the needs of your workforce holistically and cultivating a culture that encourages employees to take a step away from their to-do lists from time to time. Think about introducing digital detox hours or "no-work-chat" social calls to encourage employees to take a break and invest in relationship building. 

#3. Uncertainty about what’s to come

The problem: Fear for the future is prevalent

Headlines broadcast widespread economic issues and soaring unemployment numbers. With millions of lay-offs and furloughed workforces, it’s natural for employees to feel concerned about their future at your organization.

The solution: Lead with sensitivity

Fear of the unknown can cause many employees’ stress levels to skyrocket. Create and centralize resources for emotional support, including content on coping with anxiety and points of contact for personalized guidance. Provide real-time updates that keep employees in the know while also weaving in positive 'people stories' that will contribute towards heightened morale.

A little optimism can have a lasting impact: after one of our clients launched a Good Deed Feed dedicated to spotlighting acts of kindness, content views climbed 23% demonstrating an appetite for positive stories.

#4. Transitioning to a new normal

The problem: Employees are transitioning

From how employees spend their free time to the ways in which teams connect, COVID-19 has reshaped daily routines. Workers may feel overwhelmed by the changes they are experiencing.

The solution: Set users up for success

Create a one-stop shop for employee support. Utilize a modern intranet to centralize resources that will smooth the transition to remote work, including explainer articles, video how-to’s, and guides on the topic. In addition to offering guidance to end users, a comprehensive platform will streamline content creation processes for those responsible for ensuring staff wellbeing.

#5. Maintaining morale

The problem: Many employees are struggling to maintain a positive outlook

With the majority of events and activities on hold, it’s easy for everyone’s spirits to take a nosedive.

The solution: Get creative and launch new initiatives devised to challenge the monotony of daily life.

Whether it’s a wellbeing scheme or a charitable project, give employees something to get excited about and encourage everyone to get involved by publicizing the launch on your intranet’s homepage. Update blog content regularly and incorporate stories with personality and a positive tone.

Another option for boosting morale: take advantage of social media to support colleagues and swap stories. After one of our clients devised a #creatingmemories hashtag to help team members through hard times, reactions increased 134% and mobile usage doubled.

#6. Balancing demands outside of the workplace

The problem: Juggling childcare and work demands can prove challenging

Workplace tasks aren’t the only items on your team’s to-do list. With most children out of school, many employees are now managing family responsibilities including childcare and overseeing remote lessons.

The solution: Recognize emerging challenges

First and foremost, acknowledge that many employees are likely experiencing a new balancing act. Be understanding of these circumstances and offer flexible work options when needed and appropriate. Launch a dedicated parents’ social channel to give employees an outlet to share their concerns, connect with colleagues facing similar challenges, and exchange tips and advice.

Connecting the dots: use your intranet to underpin mental health initiatives

The need for communication and connection is at an all-time high. With the vast majority of workforces dispersed, it falls on digital technology to underpin every enterprise’s efforts for guidance and support. Creating a mental health hub offers a sweeping solution that can be utilized to address a host of challenges. Leaders can start by pulling together resources, including articles, video content, and outlets for additional support. Take it a step further by using recognition features to pinpoint designated Wellness Ambassadors.

Achieve best practice by including social channels related to wellbeing, announcing initiatives to support mental health, and providing weekly check-ins. To maximize the usage of these resources, lead by example. When employees see that members of the C-suite are opening up about the challenges they face, they will be inspired to follow suit. Provide senior leadership with communications outlets via your intranet, including video messages and blog posts.

For more ideas on how an intranet can be used to support mental health, discover how Trivallis developed an award-winning employee wellbeing solution with Unily (pictured below)

Trivallis' Wellbeing page is a gateway to Vitallis

Cultivate cohesion and compassion when it’s needed most

Now more than ever, communicating with your employees is essential for both their mental health and the health of your business. If you are interested in launching a bespoke digital solution to encourage connectivity amongst your remote workforce, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.

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