In order to have a healthy business in the current environment, it’s important to look out for the health and well-being of your employees, including their mental health. This can be especially difficult as your employees begin to work from home while the risk of the Coronavirus is present.

Unaddressed depression in the workplace (or, in this case, at home) can cause employee morale to suffer and makes your employees feel alone or isolated. For remote employees, these feelings of isolation may already be amplified, especially in a time of social distancing.

Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to help your remote workers stay healthy and happy while they keep things moving from home:

Physical

  • Get outside every day for fresh air and sunlight
  • Eat healthy, whole foods and keep lots of healthy snacks and fruit in the house; limit consumption/get rid of unhealthy foods (sugary snacks, processed foods)
  • Drink lots of water – keep on desk all day
  • Stand up during the day – take calls standing, walk around the house, treadmill or bike.
  • Maintain exercise routines
  • “Walk the dog” even if you don’t have one
  • Put a recurrent reminder on your calendar to get up, stretch, walk around, etc.
  • Create a challenge for yourself and/or with colleagues
  • Look for free exercise apps such as 7-minute workout. Nike Training, etc.
  • Search YouTube or cable provider for free yoga and strength training routines
  • Maintain sleep schedule – aim for 7 – 8 hours per night
  • Incorporate some ergonomic exercise into your workday. Examples include shoulder rolls, wrist rolls, hand stretches, neck stretches, hip stretches, hand grips (squeezing a stress ball or hand grip)

Emotional

  • Take breaks throughout the day – schedule into calendar
  • Look for free deep breathing, meditation or mindfulness apps such as insightTimer, Calm or Headspace

Social

  • Use multiple channels to communicate with colleagues – video, IM, phone
  • Have frequent check-ins with colleagues; proactively schedule check-ins with people for virtual “drop by” conversations
  • Use internal social sites or group chats to engage with colleagues
  • Schedule an errand during the day to prompt you to leave the house

Work

  • Create a space dedicated for work only and with some privacy
  • Ensure your workspace is set up properly and you have what you need, de-clutter workspace
  • Don’t be tempted to start work the moment you get up. Use your “commuting” time to take a pre-work walk, prepare nutritionous food for the day, read, write in journal
  • Treat your work at home days as if you were going to the office. Dress appropriately (with reason – probably don’t need to wear a suite working from home, but don’t wear pajamas either!)
  • Take a lunch break
  • Keep a regular work schedule and turn off computer by a certain time each day and walk away. Shut office door and don’t go back!

Children/Families

  • Maintain or create schedule for your children
  • Make sure your family members respect your work area as a place of business

Vendor Resources

  • Leverage wellness content/resources from EAP and health plans; some may have content specific to remote workers
  • If you have a wellness vendor, this is a great time to promote digital platforms. Reach out on videos/tutorials for desk yoga, stretching, meditation, or other virtual programs. Promote digital coaching programs, if available.