The work world seems to be reeling as we struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and its ramifications. One change from “pre-COVID-19” days is that most (though not all) employees have been instructed to work from home. Employers can actively play a big role in creating and enhancing safer and healthier remote working conditions by providing emotional support to their employees.  

Working from home definitely offers some advantages, such as eliminating the need to commute to and from an office and providing the potential possibility of focusing on work projects in a quieter setting than an office may allow. One concern, however, is that many employees may feel isolated and miss interacting with their colleagues.  Henry Albrecht proposes several steps that employers can take to increase employee productivity at home. Albrecht is one of the founders and the CEO of Limeade, a company that is involved in the development of employee engagement software. His suggestions include administering surveys to gauge how employees are doing and communicating information on at least a weekly basis on topics such as staying safe and self-care.

Albrecht goes on to add that employers should continue to inform their employees about what the organization is doing, how it is being done, and any other ongoing plans or projects. Lives and lifestyles are being rapidly disrupted and upended by this pandemic. It is not uncommon for employees who have never had to work from home to feel anxious and stressed out. Moreover, it can be difficult for many of us to adapt to the new normal and to wonder what types of decisions, if any, we should be making about finances and health issues. Organizations should publicize the availability of its Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers many valuable resources to help manage these sudden changes.  

Here are a couple of final tips you may want to pass along to your employees to help them as they continue to adjust to working remotely. First, employees should try to set up a designated working area. This will help them avoid many distractions at home. Second, they should create a schedule and set limits on interactions with family and friends. This schedule should try to anticipate and build in time for situations that may distract employees from working.