Health Practices for Remote Work Environments
Prior to 2020, working from home for most people was something that seemed unattainable. With the pandemic forcing some workplaces into remote work for the safety of employees, there must be a focus on ensuring that each employee has a remote environment that is comfortable.
We now, more than ever, need to be aware of best health practices in the workplace. Not only for physical health but the mental wellbeing of employees as well.
Here are some practices employers can implement to assist their staff in being comfortable and healthy while working remotely.
Ensuring A Comfortable Remote Work Space
A practice that I experienced in a previous job was an assessment of my workspace by my employer, prior to assuming a remote position. The assessment included a checklist of ergonomic requirements as well as tips from other remote employees for making the space more comfortable. We were to set up our space and complete the checklist, then provide photo evidence of the space to the HR department.
Once approved, we could then commence the remote position. Not only did this ensure we were starting off on the right foot in a new work environment, but it also demonstrated care from the employer. This practice is something that could be effective on a wider scale for businesses who may be hesitant to implement new work options.
Health In A Remote Working Environment
Adopting a remote working environment can be a double-edged sword depending on the workplace and the particular employee. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some workplaces were forced into a completely remote environment within a matter of days to protect the health of the workforce.
For some people, remote working would have been a dream. However, such a huge change being enforced in such a small amount of time, although it was to protect people’s physical health, could have had an impact on the mental health and wellbeing of those affected. Any kind of change can be difficult, but with a complete overhaul of policies and procedures within a workforce, steps need to be put in place for the future of the workforce if it is going to thrive.
Employers need to remember that each individual is different. So, while some working environments are great for one person, a different approach may be needed for somebody else.
In my experience with remote work (my current position included), I would say work-life balance is something that not only makes an employee more comfortable at work but also has an impact on mental health. Even though I enjoyed my remote position in my previous job, the hours were regimented, lunch breaks were set, and even though I was at home I had no real control over my day. Over time, that started to take a toll, especially because your home is your work environment.
Allow Freedom Within Your Remote Work System
My previous employers were always hesitant to allow their employees to work from home. Perhaps it was because of a lack of trust, or a concern that autonomy may lead to lower productivity.
My personal experience of remote work with Vine Street Digital has been extremely positive. I find myself a lot more focused now that I’m able to set out my workday according to when I will be most productive. Having the ability to work flexibly has created the perfect work-life balance for me! I feel as though my performance has skyrocketed now, compared to how it was in a regimented office environment.
If I had to give advice to employers on how to keep a happy, healthy and productive workforce, I would have to say the biggest thing, in my opinion, is giving your staff a choice. If you provide your employees with the freedom to choose from a range of options that work for your business but are also diverse in the type of approach your employees can take, I feel as though employers would find they have a much happier and productive workforce than that of a business that is putting everyone in the same box.
Written by Zea Holmes