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How To Prioritize Mental Health For Remote Teams

Remote work has quickly become the new normal. For many people, this sudden shift in their daily routine has been especially difficult for their mental health.

Compared to a bustling office space, working from the comfort of your home can feel like working in isolation. As a result, work/life balance can feel harder to maintain. Teams have adjusted communication styles, technology, and working hours to ensure productivity is possible in a remote environment. What is equally, if not more, important is that mental health is also a priority. Here are a few tips that have worked for us to build & maintain healthy habits and emotional well-being for our remote teams.

Maintaining a Routine

Create and stick to a routine (if you haven’t already, check out our work-life balance blog for tips). When you work from home, the divide between work time and personal time is fuzzy. It’s important to have a routine so that you can separate these responsibilities, even if they all take place in your living room. Research shows that people who schedule their day tend to have less anxiety and stress as a result. You’ll find yourself getting better sleep and enjoying the intentional free time!

Routines don’t have to be boring. For example, give yourself a little time to pamper yourself in the morning with a simple skincare routine, brewing a cup of coffee, or jamming to your perfect wake-up playlist (speaking of, ATHENAWORKS curates Spotify playlist — maybe you’ll find yours here). Or do all three! Find what works for you and stick to it.

Trust = Success

Building trust in the workplace is probably the most important thing to ensure success. Without everyone together in the same physical office, it’s even more critical that colleagues feel connected. Trusting your team and knowing you’re all working together to achieve the same goal will make work not only less stressful but fun. Create a healthy work environment by getting to know your coworkers on a personal level. Without “water cooler talk” and hallway discussions, it’s easy to focus on work when hopping on a video call or sending emails. Even when remote, work should be a safe space where people can bring their whole selves. Building these social connections between colleagues is essential for emotional well-being and team collaboration

Honesty & Transparency

Ask for help. If you need support, there’s nothing wrong with being honest about what you’re struggling with. It doesn’t benefit you or anyone else by stressing over a problem on your own. Teamwork makes the dream work, as corny as it sounds. Your team will appreciate you being vulnerable, and it gives them the space to do the same. That being said, just because you’re taking a work call from your home, it doesn’t mean that you should bring your home life into every work conversation. Be considerate of others, know their boundaries, and don’t place your personal struggles onto others without asking permission. Ask for feedback. Similar to asking for help, asking for feedback shows your team members that you value their expertise and trust them. These conversations can happen over the phone, so working remotely should not be a barrier to honest feedback.

Accept Mistakes As Opportunities To Learn

Last week we came out with a blog on the importance of celebrating failures and suggested tips for how to do it effectively. Work errors are inevitable and when they happen in the comfort of our home, it’s impossible not to let them affect our personal lives. For example, instead of having an immediate discussion with a manager, venting to coworkers, or getting reassurance from your team, working from home might cause you to bring these unresolved conflicts into your personal life. Rather than bottling up your feelings, or turning to your roommates, partners, or pet, try to resolve work problems during working hours only. By doing so, you will create a healthy boundary between work and personal life.

Especially in a remote work environment, companies need people to be engaged, resilient, and healthy. Social interactions in a workday look a lot different now, but social distancing doesn’t have to feel like total isolation. If teams can deliver projects, conduct meetings, and maintain productivity remotely, they should also be able to prioritize mental health remotely. Hopefully, these tips can help you create a healthy work schedule, build strong relationships, and prioritize yourself regardless of your physical workspace.

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