Supporting remote workers is key to business resilience – here’s why

Happy remote worker on a phone call and using his laptop at the kitchen table

In times of uncertainty, you must offer your remote workers the right support – for both their wellbeing and the wellbeing of your business.

As your business continues to maintain and support an agile and remote workforce, the pressures and stresses placed upon your people become more unique. While some may have switched seamlessly to new ways of working, others may struggle to find balance. It all depends on an individual’s circumstances so it’s important to provide the right support to help your remote workers navigate these changes.

But what is ‘the right support’?

It’s a good question and one that needs to be answered by today’s business leaders and senior managers. World Mental Health Day brings this awareness to the fore for all organisations so this post aims to provide you with ideas, initiatives and answers for how your organisation can support the wellbeing of your people.

Protect your people and you’ll promote productivity during trying times.

What challenges are your people facing?

Some challenges will be the result of your people’s personal circumstances. You must reach out and discuss whether you can offer any help.

But there are also business challenges that will affect everyone in your organisation. Streams of online meetings. Periods of total isolation. Delays in getting IT or project support. It all adds up to become a taxing experience each working day. 

How does this affect remote workers?

First off, it makes us feel fatigued. Constantly having to deal with tedious technical issues and convoluted, drawn-out digital conversations are tiresome. It can even lead to people working longer hours as they try to make up for the lost time. 

This all makes for more stress. As people search for the right balance between home, work and personal responsibilities. They also hear all the doom and gloom on the news – especially regarding the pressures on society, the economy and job insecurity.

It’s not a healthy way to work. But, by being proactive and promoting positivity, business leaders can inspire a real difference.

The power of positivity

There are steps we can take to help improve our mindset. By focusing on a proactive and healthy lifestyle, we look after the health and wellbeing of remote workers in times of high stress.

Here are some top tips to help keep you and your people remain positive at times of stress:

Keep in touch.

You must regularly reach out to your people – and it shouldn’t be about work. A quick phone call to find out how someone is getting on, sharing funny or engaging content, a casual video call (maybe with a beer…) are great ways to get people smiling.

Encourage regular breaks.

Make sure your remote workers know it’s ok to step away from their work. One of the biggest benefits of more agile and flexible working practices is that your people can exercise greater autonomy over their days. So help them to take advantage of this.

Promote kindness.

Kind acts feel all the more impactful during times of adversity. Think about how your organisation can help others, or how you can enable your people to award and recognise each other. They will rally to the call and feel good for doing good.

How practising mindfulness can help your remote workers

A really powerful way to promote positivity, and help your remote workers proactively take care of their mental health and wellbeing, is to share some tips on how to practice mindfulness.

Meditation and mindfulness can make a real difference in how we think and react to situations, reducing feelings of fear and anxiety. 

This is because mindfulness – which includes things like yoga and breathing exercises – focuses our thoughts and feelings on the present moment. So, instead of becoming overwhelmed, we feel we can manage them.

Nine simple steps for mindful breathing

There are many resources out there which you can find to help you and your people practice mindfulness, but one that’s quick and easy to do is mindful breathing – ten minutes where you just focus on you and your lungs. Here’s how it works:

  • Sit in a quiet place and turn off your phone
  • Recognise any thoughts, feelings or emotions going on inside your head
  • Bring the focus back to you. This is your time for the next ten minutes. Don’t allow any distractions
  • Focus only on your breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth
  • Notice your lungs expanding, and the time between each inhalation and exhalation
  • Feel yourself relax after each exhale. Your shoulders are dropping. Arms and legs becoming heavy
  • Feel the cool air in your nostrils, the warm air leaving your mouth
  • After ten mins, slowly rise from your mindful state – wiggle your toes and fingers and smile
  • Ease into the rest of your day feeling focused and happy!

Adopt a people-first approach

By promoting positivity, offering proactive support and keeping in regular contact, you can help your remote workers thrive in their roles and lead happier healthier lives.

Working with a specialist partner to implement these types of transformation projects is key. And finding a partner who shares a people-first approach is essential.

Creating a Conscious Workplace

Whether you’re a small business or a large-scale enterprise, Ricoh believes in adopting a ‘people first’ approach to all aspects of the business. From how we communicate to the physical technologies, process and environments we provide, we need to always put the experience of our people first.

Adopting a people-first approach will not only help mitigate stress and support positive employee mental health but also enhance productivity and performance.

Further reading on how to support your remote workers:

Recognising the fatigue caused by remote working

How to build a better workplace for your people – with insights from IWFM

How innovation can empower HR leaders to better support their people

Discover more about Ricoh’s Intelligent Remote Working Solutions.

Marco Pezzani

Ricoh UK National Customer Service Director