Support for employees is an element that each employer should ensure is a priority, particularly during the period of uncertainty currently faced by all in the UK with the ongoing health emergency. Not only is support vital for an employees wellbeing, the more it is practised and put in place by a workplace, the better working quality can be produced.
James from Remote Reach shares 10 essential things all employers must do for their remote workers, commenting, “Employers should take care of their employees mental health because ultimately it benefits both parties. Workers who are physically and mentally fit, and feel they are being taken care of, will be more productive for the company and will stay engaged easier and longer. Employees will have a healthier working life and feel more effective and more fulfilled. These employees will also find their work life balance not compromised.”
1. A fully adjustable chair
As an employer it is your duty to ensure all remote workers are sitting on fully ergonomic adjustable chairs. One third of your remote worker’s day will be spent in this chair and so it is vital that they are comfortable.
2. Workstation risk assessment
Ideally once a year, all remote workers should get a DSE risk assessment, the ‘display screen equipment’ risk assessment covers all the physical risks that come from sitting at a workstation. This risk assessment will put measures in place to ensure workers’ physical health are protected, such as preventing any musculoskeletal disorders.
3. A dedicated work space
Employees working remotely should be encouraged to create a dedicated area that is set aside for work, even if it is just a section of a room. A dedicated work space such as a temporary set-up at a table compared with a space that is used for escapism and relaxing such as a sofa enables workers to mentally leave work behind whilst working from home and keep work and pleasure separate.
4. PAT test all equipment
Similarly to a DSE risk assessment, if your remote workers are using electrical equipment to do their work, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure this is safe – an annual PAT test is the best way to do this, including laptops, printers and chargers.
5. Mental health awareness and having a mental health policy
Having a mental health policy is of high importance to supporting employees, as well as ensuring they are fully aware of the policy and how they can access mental health support.
Remote Reach advise, “Ensure your mental health policy has been amended to reflect remote working and the mental health pressure this can create. If you don’t have a mental health policy, now is a great time to get one written! The fact that you don’t see remote workers everyday will make it very difficult to recognise mental health issues that may arise.”
6. Flexible hours
So long as hours worked by remote workers are within the needs of a business, it is advisable to allow employees to work flexibly. Remote Reach state, “Almost every home worker we have spoken to say they feel more productive when they can work their hours at flexible times.”
7. Encourage breaks
Always encourage your colleagues to take a full lunch break of a minimum of 30 minutes away from their workspace, as well as stretching their legs for five minutes once an hour.
8. Communication tools
Give your teams the right tools to encourage smooth and effective communication, whether that’s regular zoom calls or working collectively on a shared spreadsheet where all employees have a clear understanding of their own tasks and responsibilities.
9. Work-Life Balance
Encouraging your remote workers to have a healthy work-life balance is vital during the current lockdown that the UK is in, it’s important to encourage colleagues to prioritise relaxation time and time with family or friends (even if this is via digital means). You can do this by creating a culture where “work time and personal time don’t overlap and communication outside of work time is limited.”, say Remote Reach.
10. Check in with your employees
This is the easiest and most effective way to support your employees. It is a simple question that can be dropped into a phone call or email, your business or company will do better with employees who feel mentally supported by their workplace. For more tips on supporting employees in the workplace, click here.
James from Remote Reach elaborates, “In relation to remote working, we believe it is very important organisations take extra care when it comes to mental health. As teams are all remote, it is very hard to recognise when issues may be occurring. Regular check ins and organised structures to this are very important and go a long way. Above all, it’s just the right thing to do.”
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