Tips to keep remote workers happy and healthy

The coronavirus crisis has thrown up a host of new challenges for Irish employers.

Not all businesses will be in a position to have staff work from home, that’s just the reality of the situation. However, remote working is being used more and more to keep employees at work during a time when everyone needs to respect social distancing measures.

If you can, having a working from home policy in place during the crisis will allow you to ensure your employees’ safety and enable your business to continue operating.

While those are the positives, remote working can be a challenge on a personal level. Remote workers may end up feeling isolated and out of touch. As a result, their mental health could suffer.

Here are some tips to ensure your employees come out the other end of remote working happy and healthy.

Set targets

If you allow employees to work from home, it obviously means you can’t keep an eye on them. That could leave you wondering if they’re actually working or just enjoying some out of office time. However, there is a remedy to settle your nerves: targets.

These can be daily or weekly targets. Not only will you be able to check if they’re still completing tasks, the employee will also remain on top of their work. By keeping your remote employees busy they will hopefully spend less time reading coronavirus-related material.

You may also have to decide whether to monitor hours worked. This, of course, could depend on their role.

By setting targets and giving your remote workers something to work towards, you will both get back to the office happy and healthy.

Give them the facts

As we’ve all seen, misinformation regarding the coronavirus is rife. The result is increasingly worried employees, both because of the impact it could have on their health and the security of their role.

That’s why it’s crucial that you get your coronavirus news from government websites only. Then, you can inform your workforce of the actual situation. The HSE and government websites both provide regular updates that you can include in the emails or newsletters that you send remote workers.

Keep in contact

Moving to a home office isn’t easy for everyone. It could take some time for certain employees to settle in, which is why contact is key.

Emailing, calling, or video calls will enable all remote workers to stay in touch. You will also be able to talk about upcoming tasks and ensure that they have everything they need to continue their work.

Furthermore, interaction between employees will help remote workers maintain balance in their day. By doing so on a regular basis, it will almost feel like they never left the office at all.

Exercise

Make sure your remote workers are taking regular breaks and getting out for some fresh air. Desk exercises are also an easy way to keep the body moving. Employees can roll their shoulders, punch the air, extend their legs and rotate their necks without leaving their desk.

Lunchtime walks should also be encouraged.

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Nora Cashe

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Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

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Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

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David Begg

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