Maintaining a healthy work-life balance has been a challenge for a while. Now, as more people work from home, creating a respectful remote workplace in which employees don’t feel pressured to be available 24/7 requires planning, establishing expectations and boundaries and continuous communication.
Checking emails replaces the morning commute, while phone calls and chat messages result in longer workdays and more people working weekends. With less downtime to mentally and physically recharge, remote employees can suffer from burnout, which negatively impacts productivity. According to a 2020 survey by global online employment platform Monster, over two-thirds, or 69% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home.
5 steps to create a healthy work-life balance
Managers can help remote employees avoid burnout by:
- Being a positive role model
Managers should clearly communicate that the quality of work is more important than working long hours, answering emails late at night, putting time in on weekends and giving up vacation days. By not scheduling team meetings or sending emails outside of normal work hours, managers reinforce the message that it’s ok to disconnect at the end of the workday.
- Encouraging employees to establish a workday routine
Employees working remotely should establish a daily routine that enables them to stay on task and remain productive, while protecting their personal time. This includes keeping to regular work hours, taking breaks and lunch and setting up a designated workspace in the house that they leave once the workday is over.
- Reinforcing personal boundaries
In an office, visual cues such as closed doors or coworkers wearing headphones are signs that people need to work uninterrupted. In a remote setting, employees should feel comfortable using tools to let colleagues know when they’re available to talk, in a meeting or heads down to meet a deadline.
- Communicating with team members
Schedule regular one-on-one check-ins with employees to address questions and concerns, keep them apprised of deadlines and monitor work progress. Use communication tools that best fit individual employees. By not constantly pinging employees with texts and email, managers avoid micromanagement which can create stress for staff.
- Making sure remote employees take vacation
All employees need to be able to take vacation and holidays and totally disconnect from work, so they return refreshed. Let employees know they don’t need to monitor email during their time off, and that they will receive a phone call or text if there is a true emergency. Have other employees ready to step in for vacationing employees if necessary.
It takes extra thought and effort to foster a respectful remote workplace. Creating, communicating and upholding boundaries reduces stress for work-from-home employees by enabling them to unplug from their devices at the end of the workday and enjoy a greater work-life balance.
Sign up for a free trial of our Creating a Respectful Remote Workplace Training course: