Remote working is not a new phenomenon and many businesses have successfully been working remotely for a long time. However, in recent years the COVID pandemic has changed the way more people are working and interacting with their teams. The pandemic lockdowns and work from home advice have taken businesses who otherwise would have continued working in an office environment to embrace a new way of working and managing teams.

Whilst the reduced commute and greater flexibility have benefited some, many have experienced challenges of working from home.  Gone are the commutes into work, wandering around the office saying hello and attending face-to-face meetings, perhaps going for a walk to the local shop at lunchtime and socialising after work. Instead, more people are finding themselves walking a few metres to the kitchen table, sitting down and staring at a screen for much of the day. There is perhaps little motivation to move around, go outside for a walk and an unclear division between work life and home life by not always finishing work at a reasonable time.

A report conducted by Lloyds Register surveyed 5,500 people and found that more than half (52%) of respondents confirmed that working from home has led to a better work-life balance. However, 22% felt they are working longer hours than before, 17% feel more isolated from their colleagues and 9% are more anxious.

The switch to hybrid working (where employees work a percentage from the home and the rest of the time in the office) will no doubt also have both a positive and negative impact on employees and managers.

The Mental Health Cost

Although many people are still pro-working from home and can see the benefits of doing so, there are still those who are suffering from their mental health as a result of feeling isolated, working longer hours or being disjointed from the business and their teams.

Get staff moving

Concerns over employee wellbeing are top of the priority for HR Managers and Wellbeing Managers. They will need to find ways to integrate hybrid and remote teams. Getting involved through exercise challenges and charity fundraising is a positive way to bring teams together. Through an integrated platform, WellGiving supports managers to boost employee wellbeing by setting movement challenges that also raises money for charities. Experts say that even 10 minutes of exercise a few times throughout the week can boost wellbeing and make a difference in how you feel.

Management Responsibility

Nuffield Health has made some recommendations for employers that include:

  • Mental health wellbeing needs to be seen by employers as a vital part of their responsibilities, consideration for the impact working remotely can have on an employee’s mental health needs to be considered 
  • Managers need to foster social and professional interaction, providing a sense of belonging to a bigger group. Problems that may arise from isolation, stress and mental ill-health need to be understood and advice and help provided
  • A “one size fits all approach” should never be taken when it comes to individual staff working remotely

Remote working has had both a positive and negative effect on staff wellbeing. There needs to be a balance that meets the needs of everyone so that nobody feels that their mental health has suffered as a result of remote or hybrid working. Finding solutions such as team challenges, regular check-ins, individual management and socialisation that helps to bridge the gap and bring teams together will enable managers to support their employees whilst still achieving productive output from them.

For more information on how WellGiving can help to bring teams together book a demo.