At the onset of the pandemic, companies throughout Canada kept their operations through remote work. Suddenly, countless Canadians across the country were now working from home, a notable change from their ordinary workday that typically involved commutes to and from the office.
Many welcomed these changes, finding plenty of humour in their new workday habits. PJs and sweats replaced the formal workwear, the water cooler was replaced by group calls and chats, while family and pets would routinely interrupt the average workday, often with hilarious results.
However, more than 16 months into the pandemic, a clearer picture is being painted about the impact of working from home. Many people are finding their personal and family lives are becoming negatively affected by remote working.
How the Pandemic is Impacting Employee Mental Health
Employees are becoming more stressed from the remote work life, as it is more challenging to find the right work-life balance when you work from home. Interruptions to work are not as funny as they once were, it’s harder to find personal boundaries, while a lack of social interaction is causing many to feel incredibly isolated.
In fact, a recent study suggests that as much as 68% of Canadians are struggling with mental health problems during the pandemic. One in five of these people believe isolation is the main cause for increased mental health issues.
Moreover, many employees are feeling anxious over their employers’ plans to return to the workplace. Many even feel that their employer doesn’t have any plan in place for an eventual return to the office.
So, whether employees are enjoying remote working or longing for a return to the workplace, it’s clear that pandemic continues to have an enormous impact on employee mental health.
Tips for How to Improve Workplace Mental Health
There are many things that a company can do to help improve the mental health of their remote workforce during the pandemic.
Try to Establish (and Respect) Boundaries
The first is one that many are struggling with – respect the boundaries that come with working from home. This means not making zoom calls at unexpected hours, dropping sudden deadlines on staff or expecting them to work during weekends.
These boundaries apply at home too. You may need to explain to your family that despite being at home, you are still working so require some peace and quiet to do your work. Explain to your partner and children that you are still working and can’t be constantly disturbed.
Try to Create a Dedicated Workspace
Creating a dedicated workspace is a great way to strike a suitable work-life balance. Even just a small part of a room that is dedicated to working can help you get into the right mindset for working, creating a better environment for a productive day of work.
Avoiding distractions is also a good idea. Just because you are home doesn’t mean you should be doing house chores all the time. It can be tempting to smash out a few chores throughout the workday, yet these often snowball into unwanted distractions that lower productivity. Stay focused on work and you will feel all the better for it!
Try to Maintain Social Interactions With Co-Workers
Finally, do not forget to try and maintain your work social life. Just because you cannot see your co-workers every day does not mean you cannot remain connected – try starting a group chat or regular zoom calls to help keep open lines of communication.
This helps alleviate the feelings of isolation while allowi8ng you all to stay on top of your work – encourage each other as best you can!