As we move into another six weeks of restrictions it’s difficult to imagine how we can promote wellbeing when the mood of the whole country is one of frustration and fatigue. More of us are being asked to sacrifice our freedoms again and limit the daily interactions that are key to our personal wellbeing.
For those who must continue to work remotely and the many people who will be returning to working from home, there can be a sense of dread as the once novel becomes monotonous. It must be acknowledged that many people enjoy the changed work practices in many organisations, however for many more the idea of having to remain at home for the foreseeable future will bring with it many complicated emotions and will impact on wellbeing.
Many organisations will be asking themselves how they can keep their employees engaged, maintain the sense of belonging to the team as well as promoting employee wellbeing. Something that’s difficult to maintain remotely. Celebrating successes and marking significant personal events such as birthdays are all elements of what makes companies great places to work. Although this can be done online it’s not quite the same as the handshake, the pat on the back or the blowing out of candles.
It’s important to remember that these things will all come back at some point in the future and it’s this hope that will help us through the difficult times ahead. A sense of hope motivates us as well as comforts us and we need this now more than ever.
However in the meantime we need three key things to help us maintain our sense of wellbeing in the workplace. Empowerment, engagement and opportunity.
To empower someone is to instil a sense of self belief that they can achieve their goals and progress in their careers. Wellbeing in professional environments needs to include pathways to success. Clear roadmaps that allow employees to create a career path for themselves and work towards the goals they identify and help the organisation grow.
Empowering employees gives a sense of autonomy as well as responsibility. It’s through adopting personal responsibility for the outcomes of our lives, both professionally and personally that gives our lives a sense of purpose. People who have a strong sense of purpose also have a strong sense of hope and will become leaders and a positive influence within an organisation that promotes this. It’s important that pathways to success and progression are maintained and promoted so that employees have reasons to remain motivated.
One of the most challenging aspects of working remotely is maintaining employee engagement. Working remotely for many employees can turn a career into a job, as some of the dynamic motivating factors that occur within the workplace can be lost online. Working as part of a team and the ability to have a quick chat face to face with a co-worker or mentor are vital aspects of keeping people engaged. It’s challenging to maintain this when working alone and only meeting virtually.
It’s also important to shift our focus a little. When we are disconnected from each other we can lose sight of the people we work with and become overly focused on results and target these are very important, however when we become detached from the people helping to reach the targets and results, employees will sense this quickly and disengage. Taking the time to focus on employee wellbeing regularly and checking in at a personal level will highlight an organisation that values their employees, therefore maintaining engagement.
To empower and engage employees, it’s necessary to provide opportunities for them to develop both personally and professionally. In the absence of seminars and other face to face learning opportunities, online learning can provide a platform for employees to gain a sense of personal and professional growth.
There are many options that can be provided for employees. Personal learning opportunities can be anything from wellbeing webinars to cooking lessons. Promoting opportunities for personal development will instil a sense of fun and growth. Professional learning opportunities will allow employees to develop their professional goals and provide a sense of progress that underpins empowerment and engagement.
The immense frustration that we are all feeling at the moment is as a result of many factors, not being able to meet with family and friends, being unable to do the things we normally enjoy and working in drastically changed environments to name a few. All these factors lead to restriction fatigue. This can create challenges for our mental health and wellbeing.
When we feel restricted and our days feel monotonous, our motivation suffers. We are limited in how we can counteract this at the moment however online avenues of self-improvement can provide a sense of growth, purpose and most importantly hope.