One of the most notable moments in this year’s Brit Awards was Taylor Swift’s speech. She said something along the lines of “no career path is without negativity”. And as someone who has worked for years, I agree wholeheartedly. You see, every career path has its struggles. If you don’t struggle, you never know what you’re doing wrong, which means you don’t get to know better. This means that in every job, and every working environment, there will always be some sort of struggle or stress. And believe it or not, stress also comes in its own ways and challenges even the most resilient in remote working.
Now that we’re starting to reopen our worlds and try to return to what used to be normal, some of us have realized that some meetings do belong in an email instead. And since we’re welcoming the idea that remote working is here to stay, it’s time to address the stress that also comes with this working condition.
Home Stressors At Work
What exactly are these stressors at a work-from-home setup? Apart from the obvious routine change, the limits of your working hours can become quite blurred. Because boundaries haven’t been set at home, you might have to face more distractions than you do in the office. I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent the last eighteen months living off Amazon and InstaCart, receiving and signing for deliveries, co-managing my kids’ home-school, and answering non-work calls. Thankfully, with the world re-opening, most of these distractions are going to stop, however, any distractions, however small, can affect your focus in bulk. Getting out of “the zone” can lead you to stop and refocus several times, resulting in delayed work and extending hours. All these changes result from blurring the line between work-life and home-life.
Of course, when employees struggle, it’s up to the managers to detect the warning signs. It’s their responsibility to find a way to help their workforce. But how can you help in keeping resilience in remote-working employees, when you aren’t there to see the challenges they are going through?
Well, the first part is probably thinking of your own struggles in working from home. Then take half a step back and pinpoint your own privileges and comfort that your team-members might not have. You may also find yourself seeing more mistakes than usual from employees who are usually dependable for high-quality work. This is one concrete warning sign that employees could be distracted with personal chores and errands while working.
Another warning sign is when your employees start using more negative and emotional language. When an employee starts to describe reasonably difficult and pressuring tasks as impossible, there could be burnout lurking there. Another is unexplained absences or radio silence. If an email, voicemail or text message from you goes unanswered for several hours, you have every right to wonder why; and ask for an explanation.
Keeping Resilience in Remote Working
As managers, we should understand that the adrenaline rushes those changes bring, wear out eventually and can tire out even the best of us. Detect these warning signs and don’t allow small problems to grow into large ones. It’s within a manager’s responsibility to intervene and figure out the best steps to avoid employee burnout and maintain strong resilience within the team. It’s always good to remind ourselves that our most important resources are our human resources.
We may not yet be back in the office, but that doesn’t mean we should stop efforts in keeping wellness in the workplace. Know more about its importance and how we can help our teams in this podcast episode!