- While remote work arrangements offer certain benefits to employees, they can also cause stress and anxiety
- Workers may miss interpersonal interactions, fear that they will be regarded as lazy, or have trouble preventing work from bleeding over into their personal lives
- Steps leaders can take to help address anxieties in their remote workforce
Summary by Dirk Langeveld
One effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on workplace policies was the destruction of the idea that allowing people to work from home would allow for more distractions and less productivity. Instead, employees continued to perform well while avoiding a stressful commute, creating flexible schedules, and enjoying other benefits. The arrangement has proved so popular that many companies are adopting policies allowing employees to work remotely for part of the week, if not full-time.
But while remote work has its advantages, it can also leave employees feeling anxious and stressed. Workers might miss their interactions with co-workers, have a less distinct work-life boundary, or otherwise face challenges that make them more depressed and irritable.
As employers incorporate remote work into their employee management strategies, it’s important to understand the negative impacts of the arrangement and how to address them. A recent article in Entrepreneur offered some tips on the issue.
- Remote workers who have insufficient interactions with their manager may feel that they will be viewed as lazy or unproductive, and some will take on extra work and stress to counter this perception; simply offering positive feedback and one-on-one check-ins can help alleviate this issue
- Ensure that remote workers are not left out of discussions being held at the physical workplace; use digital tools for this purpose as well as for social gatherings among co-workers
- Respect an employee’s work-life balance; while workers may be open to working more irregular hours when doing their tasks remotely, you should consult with them to see what times they want to be off the clock
- Some larger businesses have implemented mandatory time off for workers to refresh; your company may consider implementing such “mental health days” or encouraging employees to take advantage of therapy covered by their health insurance