Semana Blog

Mental Health and Remote Work : How to preserve well-being

Working remotely, or, “teleworking”, has many advantages. Nevertheless, the psychosocial risks associated with poorly managed remote work habits are often underestimated.

Alexis Barthélémy, cofounder of Lumm shares his valuable advice for preserving your mental health in a hybrid organization. 🧘🏼‍♀️

You support companies and their employees on a daily basis. What are your first conclusions about the link between mental health and remote working ?

Fortunately, telework is not always a source of difficulty. Initially, it is set up to respond to demand from employees, often to provide flexibility in schedules, reduce transport time, and allow for time for concentration. These are real advantages for a large number of employees who suffer from too dense routines.

Isolation will for these people be an accelerator of disengagement.

It is therefore imperative to work upstream on the well-being of employees, whether working remotely or not. This is what we do with Lumm for all employees.

What good practices have you identified to address the mental health of remote workers upstream?

For employees :

Telework has the particularity of reducing the separation between the professional and private spheres. It is common to see employees over-investing who struggle to disconnect at the end of the day.

To maintain a balance between time spent at work and personal time at home, we recommend creating simple routines:

  • Clearly define your work time : as you would in the office, set yourself working hours, allow yourself to disconnect outside these time slots and establish a closing ritual for the day (put away all your equipment, write down what you accomplished, and what you will do the next day).
  • Preserve break times : in the office as in teleworking, it is essential to give yourself real moments of break. You have the right to take a real lunch break without answering your emails.
  • Maintain good communication : establish a modus operandi with your manager, regularly exchange with your colleagues on progress, news, challenges or successes.
  • Ask for feedback so that uncertainty doesn’t set in. In the office, you can pick up signals of validation and recognition that you might not catch when remote. Regularly checking in helps to maintain this essential mechanism.

For managers:

Managers are often the only link between a remote employee and the company, which can present a major challenge. Here are our tips:

  • Adopt a role of coach more than controller. Data has shown that employees need listening, advice and closeness more than control. Studies also show that 80% of employees have a better relationship with their manager since the pandemic.
  • Communicate regularly with your team, to maintain connections and guarantee clarity of objectives and everyone’s roles. You must bring all the information that could be lost with the distance from the workplace.
  • Actively monitor the well-being of your employees. Proactively look for signs of struggle or disengagement. Ask clear questions about your employees’ balance, their level of motivation, etc. To respect the privacy of an employee who encounters personal difficulties, do not hesitate to direct him to a third party, a therapist or a coach for example.

For HR and administrators :

Management has a central role to play in safeguarding the mental health of workers, by creating an open environment about it:

  • Communicate about the company’s position on mental health. Organize meetings, workshops, and other actions that break the stigma and silence.
  • Lead by example : be the first to talk about yourself, involve management, and provide meaningful support to those who need it.
  • Offer a solution to help everyone take charge of their mental well-being at all times through solutions like Lumm.

How can you identify the “weak signals” of employees who are disengaged ?

It is essential to identify the signs of a struggling employee who is disengaging as quickly as possible. Here are some signs that should alert you:

  • Omissions or unusual errors
  • Impaired communication
  • A loss of motivation and enthusiasm or, conversely, an over-commitment to work

Keep in mind that many people won’t feel comfortable speaking about their mental well-being with their manager. It can therefore be difficult to determine yourself whether a team member is struggling.

What action plan should be put in place to best support employees?

At Lumm, we believe that the best way to support employees’ mental health is through 4 steps of prevention:

  1. Regularly monitor people’s mood
  2. Encourage employees to manage their own mental health by providing access to psycho-educational resources and therapists.
  3. Train managers so they are better equipped to anticipate and react when someone is having a hard time
  4. Supplement individual support with one-off and targeted actions

Which populations are likely to be at risk?

Everyone can experience difficult times. Some are more exposed to the risk of over-commitment, others to isolation, and all to life events that hurt.

This is why it is essential to equip and support everyone with a complete system and a partner that simplifies and centralizes actions to ensure the mental health and well-being of your team is cared for.