How to Overcome Mental Fatigue in a Remote Work Environment

How to Overcome Mental Fatigue in a Remote Work Environment

Over the past two years, living and working through the pandemic has presented a unique set of challenges. Between the isolation from friends and family and the financial pressure millions have felt as businesses shuttered, it goes without saying that we’re all ready to put this moment in time behind us. The issue is that remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

The pandemic changed the landscape of work forever, and the challenges of remote work aren’t disappearing any time soon, especially remote work fatigue. In fact, studies have shown that 69% of remote workers have exhibited signs of burnout while working from home.

Mental fatigue affecting remote workers results in a drop off in productivity and compromises mental health. It’s important that employers look for ways to alleviate any negative feelings surrounding the remote work environment, both for the health of their teams and the wellbeing of their companies.

Here are a few key strategies leaders can use to help mitigate the fatigue of working remotely and keep employees excited about work:

1. Keep lines of communication open and constant.

happy woman on virtual call

One of the greatest challenges of working remotely is finding the balance between individual productivity and collaborative engagement. As leaders, we need to model the healthy habits we want our employees to practice, and communication certainly tops the list, whether your team is sitting in the same room or scattered across the globe.

Make it a priority to check in with your team once a week on a personal level, and if it’s manageable, schedule individual check-ins weekly as well. The importance of these regular check-ins shouldn’t be underestimated, as 89% of human resources leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are key for successful outcomes. Develop ways to make sure every employee feels heard, valued, and connected.

2. Ask your team for feedback, identify concerns, and allocate resources toward addressing them.

people connecting

Everyone has faced several challenges throughout the past year, but one common thread has been the anxiety many are trying to handle alone. As leaders in the midst of a public health crisis, it’s our responsibility to encourage our team to share their burdens, professional and personal, and do what we can to help lessen them.

Many families, for example, are struggling to balance work and childcare while schools have been closed. Other employees may have healthcare concerns that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and financial concerns about seeking treatment. Many employees that used to have “windshield” time or white space in between meetings find themselves engaged in back-to-back Zoom meetings, which elevates pressure in getting their work done. The best way to approach this is to encourage employees to share their struggles and ask them what you can do as a team to alleviate those pressures. Perhaps you can encourage employees to ensure they schedule time in between Zoom meetings to get work down or decompress. Many companies have brought on a therapist or ministry team to give team members someone to talk to that can provide them best practices on managing stress and implementing practices that keep them mentally crisp and healthy.

3. Share your struggles.

man sharing troubles

When your team members see that you’re comfortable sharing your struggles, they’ll be more comfortable sharing theirs. Leaders can best model strength by sharing vulnerability, so go into these conversations prepared to be open about your own challenges and ask your team for their ideas on how to manage them. Not only will they be more likely to respond to your candor, but it’ll also strengthen the bond between you and your team.

4. Create opportunities for social engagement.

young people having fun

For some people, Zoom calls have become their primary means of engagement and depending on everyone’s situation, many haven’t had an outlet for social interaction outside of work. Part of maintaining an engaged workforce is encouraging a healthy work-life balance, and in the absence of after-work drinks or weekend outings, the options have narrowed considerably.

Work events, such as holiday parties and conferences, have for many been indefinitely postponed, but there’s no reason why these gatherings can’t be organized virtually. There are a variety of socially distanced events that your team might find fun. Now that spring is approaching, consider planning outings such as virtual happy hours, a socially distanced picnic with games at the park or a beach day. Make these opportunities “work-free zones” so everyone can relax, enjoy themselves and build stronger bonds. Just remember to always adhere to local safety guidelines, and ensure your team is comfortable with participating

5. Invest in mental health resources.

woman doing yoga

Communication is key and cultivating a strong team bond is important. But due to the mental health challenges of the past year, four times as many Americans are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. It’s hard for many individuals to admit this kind of struggle or ask for help, which is why executives are responsible for making resources available that provide immediate and anonymous help for employees in need. Even during an “ordinary” year, millions of workers struggle with mental health issues, so if you don’t already have these resources in place, think of them as a long-term investment in the health and well-being of your workforce. And mental health doesn’t stop at counseling services; you should also have apps or subscriptions for meditation, mindfulness, and exercise in your toolkit to help your employees cope with stress in a healthier way.

Leaders and executives haven’t been immune to the challenges posed by the pandemic and the need to work remotely. However, we’re in a unique position to alleviate some of the issues our employees are facing, and by keeping these best practices in mind, we can prepare our workforce for a return to some semblance of normalcy in the coming months.

6. Make it easy for employees to find information

With all the challenges that remote work presents, the last thing your employees should have to deal with is hunting all over the place for the information they need to do their jobs. Effective remote workplaces provide their employees a simple and easy to use platform to find anything they need to do their jobs within a central, unified location. Few things can add more frustration than an employee having to call the “help desk” or go to three different systems to find out what they need to get on with their day.

What if you could give your employees all the tools they need to succeed, enter support tickets, get their own answers to their questions without any human intervention, easily give kudos to your employees, send and receive feedback, foster social interaction, and have all of the information they need that is important to them through one tool? Employees that report they can get all the information they need in one spot so that they can get on with their day are happier, more productive, and less prone to mental fatigue.

The Employee Experience pack from Intellective enables you to have a unified, turn-key comprehensive employee experience portal in a matter of hours. The Employee Experience Pack gives employees a central location to get their questions answered, foster social interaction, give and receive kudos, and find all the information they need to do their jobs. Simply install the pack, configure the data sources and you have an engaging employee experience.

employee experience pack

Click here to learn about how the Employee Experience Pack can help alleviate the stress experienced by your remote team