Caring for Your Remote Team’s Mental Health

The transition to remote work over the last few years has been a significant change for many employees and teams. Although remote work provides flexibility and freedom, it also introduces unique mental health struggles. As a manager, how can you support your remote team’s mental wellbeing in this new environment?

Overcoming Isolation 

One of the biggest challenges with remote work is feeling disconnected or isolated from colleagues and company culture. Without the social interactions and casual chats of an office, it’s easy for remote workers to feel lonely. According to a 2023 Buffer survey, loneliness was the top issue reported by remote employees, with 23% naming it their biggest struggle. Schedule regular video calls for your team to check in and bond. Promote social connections through digital channels like Slack or team messaging. And consider occasional in-person team events when possible.

Combating Burnout

Working from home can make it difficult to “unplug” at the end of the day. Without a commute, the lines between work and personal time get fuzzy. Watch for signs of burnout on your team like irritability, lack of motivation or exhaustion. A 2020 study found the burnout rate was 25% higher for at-home workers compared to on-site staff. Encourage screen breaks during the day. Remind people to use vacation time and disconnect. And lead by example by maintaining healthy work hours and habits yourself.

Encouraging Work-Life Balance

The flexibility of remote work is great, but can also lead to an “always on” mentality. Define core hours when people should be available, but permit flexibility outside those times. Ensure your team takes regular breaks to stretch, eat, etc. You can also recommend simple wellness habits like taking a short midday walk or doing desk exercises. And be understanding if team members need to adjust their schedules for caregiving, appointments or other obligations.

Tools and Strategies

There are many tools and approaches that can boost mental health for remote teams. Virtual coffee breaks, online games and chat channels can help people connect casually. Digital wellness or meditation apps like Headspace and Calm can reduce stress. And mental health benefits through your company, an employee assistance program or virtual therapy can provide professional support. Stay updated on new ways to enhance your team’s emotional wellbeing in today’s remote environment.

While managing a remote team has unique hurdles, prioritizing mental health and wellbeing will ensure your team feels happy, healthy and engaged. With creativity and care, you can build an inclusive and supportive culture, even from afar. If you need assistance on locating, vetting and interviewing remote talent please book a free consultation here.