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Working From Home & Mental Health: The Facts
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Working From Home & Mental Health: The Facts

Posted by James on 12 Apr 2022

We are no strangers to working from home after the last couple of years. What are the actual impacts and how can we ensure our employees, colleagues and ourselves are still maximising our wellbeing?

 

Whilst 45% of employees said working from home was a positive move for their mental health and wellbeing, 29% said they felt home working was having a negative impact (rsph.org.uk). 

 

A quarter of UK workers don’t have a good home working setup, meaning they’re working from a sofa or bedroom. Half of these participants said they’d experienced musculoskeletal problems and nearly two thirds said they felt isolated from colleagues. Many are working from home with housemates, families and partners, of these they’re twice as likely to think working from home was worse for their wellbeing. 


The most common issues were 67% saying they felt less connected to their colleagues and 56% saying they found it harder to switch off. 

 

It’s not all bad news!

 

The vast majority of people didn’t want to go back to working in an office full time, with nearly three quarters of people (74%) saying that they wanted to split their time between home working and working in an office. 55% of employees said they would look for a role elsewhere if the option to work remotely was taken away from them (employmenthero.com). This shows how important it is to retain this aspect of flexible working. When we take into consideration all the potential impacts on wellbeing, here are some things to consider to get the most from your remote team:


Providing support:

Only a third of employees felt they had access to mental health support. Having a programme in place or partnership with an organisation they can speak to even if it’s under-utilised, gives them the safety net knowing their employer cares.

 

Being aware of the signs of burnout:

If your team member is taking longer than usual on tasks, replying with a delay, showing less enthusiasm for tasks and projects they’d usually enjoy or is sharing less about out of work pursuits, they could be feeling burnt out. Burnout doesn’t just come from overwork or poor time management but feeling disconnected and blurring the home work barriers can


Develop a culture of separating home from work:

Set clear contact or work hours and discourage contact outside of these. Team building days, physical challenges and encouraging interests and hobbies such as book shares or skill swaps help employees cultivate interests outside of the 9-5. Where possible, get your team work phones or block work communications out of hours.

 

Ensuring they have what they need to work remotely:

Wifi, a decent office chair, double screen and keyboard should they need and a desk seem basic but can go a long way to avoiding someone developing poor posture and being unable to work at their optimum. 

 

Offering WFH alternatives:

You should give options for those without home environments that mean they can work at their best. Housemates, space, noise and no desks or fighting over sockets can impact how well someone can work. Through Reef, your team can book into local work-friendly venues with wifi, sockets, seating and work around others, decreasing feelings of isolation.

 

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