How Successful Remote Teams Manage Mental Health
While there is no quick fix, the good news is that there are effective and simple ways to be more proactive about mental health for your remote teams.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Mental health challenges for remote workers
In Part I of acework’s Remote Best Practices series, we mentioned how remote and dispersed teams have fewer opportunities for in-person discussions, which may hurt team cohesion and productivity. In addition, this may also be a barrier to knowing if a team member is dealing with a mental health challenge.
You, a colleague or a direct report could seem upbeat, productive and engaged on a project online, while in reality you’re struggling to cope. We miss non-verbal cues when much of our workplace communication takes place through a screen or even asynchronously.
Of the 2,500 remote workers surveyed in Buffer’s 2019 report The State of Remote Work , unplugging after work hours made the number one spot as the biggest struggle employees faced with remote working. Loneliness came in second place, while collaborating/communication came in third.
Amir Salihefendic, CEO of Doist, states in the report how “we need to acknowledge that isolation, anxiety and depression are significant problems when working remotely, and we must figure out ways and systems to resolve these complex issues.”
In addition to being a remote worker, I am also the founder of a company. Founders are at additional risk to suffer from mental health issues. I am no stranger to the feeling of self-doubt, and whether I am on the right path. Dealing with rejection is a founder’s daily business. Switching off after work is even harder when you feel the responsibility of a company’s future riding on your shoulders.