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    How to manage wellbeing in the age of remote work

    Smarter Writer
    Smarter Team

    A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

    Smarter Writer
    Smarter Team

    A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

    Looking after your team’s – and your own – wellbeing is important. But with more people working from home or remotely, has your approach to managing workplace wellbeing kept up with your employees’ changing needs?

    Woman on her phone outdoors

    As we continue to navigate the evolving business landscape, wellbeing must be a priority, not an afterthought. Adapting to new ways of working can take time, energy and plenty of support. Taking care of ourselves and our team is key to supporting personal growth as well as business productivity – and there are ways to stay on top of it, no matter where you’re working from.

    Things that can affect your wellbeing when working from home

    Technology plays a big part in streamlining remote work. But that can sometimes also mean spending a whole working day in front of a screen. According to the Telstra Business Intelligence report on Thriving in the Digital Age, three in five employees surveyed have been using technology more in their business as a result of the impacts of the pandemic. This can bring on screen fatigue, a type of eye strain caused by an increase in screen time, and virtual burnout, a sense of fatigue, exhaustion or drain that occurs after a video call. On top of that comes the loss of human connection and the stress of adjusting to new tech or ways of working. So, while some people might thrive with remote work, you might find that some of your employees are affected by a number of these factors – potentially weighing heavy on their overall wellbeing.

    Why this matters for your business

    In the Thriving in the Digital Age report, Sean Hall, CEO of Energx and Chair of Workplace Mental Health Summit, tells us that looking after your team’s wellbeing isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also profitable. Whether you’re a sole trader or employ many staff, your business runs on human effort and energy. Energx research, as mentioned in the Thriving in the Digital Age report, found that businesses could be losing up to 41 days of productivity per employee each year due to burnout.

    Working through the pandemic has produced some unique mental health challenges for everyone from business owners to managers and employees. No matter your business size, it’s important to consider each person’s wellbeing and what support they might need. “If you’re a sole trader, it’s vital to look after your wellbeing for long-term success. After all, you can only achieve what you have energy for,” says Sean.

    Sean explains that taking your employees’ wellbeing seriously has proven long-term benefits. “Leading companies know employee wellbeing is much more than a nice-to-have. It is, in fact, a key driver of business performance and competitive advantage,” Sean tells us.

    “Leading companies know employee wellbeing is much more than a nice-to-have. It is, in fact, a key driver of business performance and competitive advantage”.

    Sean Hall, CEO of Energx and Chair of Workplace Mental Health Summit

    How to support your team’s wellbeing

    There are policy and cultural changes you can introduce to boost your workplace wellbeing. Sean recommends business leaders focus on three areas: role-modelling the self-care behaviours you want your team to adopt, learning how to coach self-care behaviours in your team and creating a shared vision with collective wellbeing goals. If you’re a sole trader, set up some boundaries to create a sense of balance and ensure you’re not burning out the emotional energy of those you rely on.

    The Thriving in the Digital Age report tells us that 46% of employees surveyed find it stressful to manage new technology they’re not familiar with. Keep this in mind when you’re setting your team up with new technology remotely. Make sure to factor in the time and energy it might take people to build their skills and adapt to new software – and avoid underestimating how long this can take.

    In lieu of face-to-face connections, think about the ways you can maintain a sense of team spirit, nurture personal connection and avoid burnout. Encourage breaks between calls and during long meetings, and make sure people can switch off outside of work hours. Schedule in meeting-free periods and urge everyone to spend part of this time away from their screens to re-energise.

    Tips for nurturing wellbeing in your business:
    • Create a shared vision with collective workplace wellbeing goals.
    • Schedule meeting-free periods and encourage everyone to take technology-free breaks as needed.
    • When setting up new technology, factor in the extra time and energy it may take to get everyone on board.
    • Look after your own wellbeing and model good wellbeing behaviours.
    Need help managing your tech?

    Get 24/7 online and phone support with Telstra Business Tech Services.

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