21st April 2020

Moving Your Employees to Remote Working

By Dominic Perry, Cert CII
Account Handler
Working from home

We’re now several weeks into lockdown and it would be fair to say it’s been difficult all round. Many are now working remotely, with companies facing massive challenges to keep businesses running in a state of lockdown and social distancing.

These changes have happened rapidly, with people now facing increased anxiety over employment, finances, loved ones, and personal health concerns, all whilst being cooped up indoors. Those who live alone have gone from having daily interaction to having none, whilst others are finding it difficult to concentrate with a houseful of people around.

Although these changes have happened rapidly, it can feel like a lifetime since the world was “normal” and we were still able to see family, friends and co-workers easily.

This means that due to all the individual difficulties and concerns we are facing right now, looking after employee wellbeing should be on the agenda for companies.

Although your employees may be dispersed, maintaining communication is key, as employees need to know what is going on and what support they have available. Remind your employees about the benefits they have access to, including any employee assistance programmes you have in place or colleagues they can speak with, to help alleviate any of their struggles with isolation.

There are many tools you can use to have video conferences with people, as sometimes even just seeing a familiar face can be reassuring.

The move to remote and home working has also meant that many of your employees’ desk set-ups aren’t really designed for long-term use. They may be using chairs that offer no back support and smaller laptop screens and moving a lot less. This can lead to physical pains, and longer-term problems with the spine and joints.

To alleviate this, encourage your employees to move more. It’s recommended that a desk worker should get up and move about for at least five minutes every hour to help prevent back problems and sight issues. Whilst there needs to be careful communication in place about going outside, there is still plenty of activity that can be done inside. Why not set up a challenge with senior management and ask for the most push-ups in 30 seconds and get people involved?

There are also plenty of free videos or gym glasses that can be done online, or some at a small charge. You could check in with your class trainer at the gym and see what they’re offering or search YouTube and try something new.

Lastly, it’s important to encourage your employees to switch off at the end of a working day. Remote working can mean easier access to work computers, meaning your employees are working longer hours and running the risk of burn out. You could encourage your employees to take their breaks and lunch hour away from their work screen while they catch up on an episode of their favourite show, or take an extra day off to enjoy a long weekend (as best they can at the moment). All of this can aid their overall wellbeing, whilst showing that their employers care about them.

We’re all in this together and we will come through this. However, remember that during this time a little extra support and compassion for your employees really will go a very long way.

For further information on home working you can read more here.