Sunday, July 26, 2020

Importance of Gauging and Maintaining Remote Team Health

Many companies and teams therein, are encountering what it means to work fully remote.  Companies have applied work from home (WFH) benefits for a variety of reasons such as WFH Fridays, WFH to accommodate home needs, and WFH for those who live a distance from the office, to name a few. When the coronavirus pandemic thrust itself into the human condition, it required drastic work-related measures.  One such measure is having full teams work from home. 

As companies are navigating unchartered territories with this virus, many are navigating what it means to provide WFH options. With working from home has become the new normal and with work not slowing down for many, how do you ensure the mental health and well-being of team employees?  
As employees work from home, many are stressed by the isolation from co-workers, friends, and extended family. Add to this, being forced into close quarters with spouses and children on a continuous basis adds further anxiety and stress. As past routines are disrupted and new routines are established, this causes physical and mental strain on team members.

With all of this isolation and change, it is more important than ever to gauge and maintain team health.  As a leader, what are some practical tips that you can do to help team members maintain their well-being? The answer revolves around experimenting with a variety of options.  What might work for one team may not work for others. The key is to get started, include some continuous activities, and some impromptu activities all focused on team health. Here are some ideas.      

Getting started
  • Initiate and continually gauge the health of the team. This could be in the form of morning check-ins or online pulse surveys (e.g., 1-10 on how you are feeling). This helps you gauge when team health is a concern on not. Depending on what you learn, there may be continuous and impromptu things you can do. 

  • Periodically ask the team via brainstorming ideas from the team as to what they need to maintain team health.  Soliciting ideas from them makes the team feel that you care.  
  • Have virtual yoga mornings.  This can be initiated by either a professional yoga instructor or one of the team members that enjoys a leadership opportunity. Similarly, this could be a virtual walking morning.
  • Provide flexibility in work hours.  As spouses and children are within the remote office (aka, home), flexible hours help relieve stress from juggling family schedules
  • Set boundaries on work schedule. As the house becomes the “office”, it can be harder to escape the office and ‘shut off’. Ensure there are work hour boundaries set so team members feel they have relief.  
  • Recommend employees connect with one other team member every day in a face-to-face manner via video conferencing.  This helps team members feel connected to one another in a visual manner.

  • Periodically apply a Wellness weekend.  This is effectively a long weekend where team members have Friday off to give them time to unwind beyond the normal 2-day weekend.
  • Send care packages to team members. These packages do not have to be extensive and should be focused on highlighting appreciation.  This surprise also makes for a way to break the monotony of everyday life.

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