Set Clear Boundaries - Deepstash

Set Clear Boundaries

While flexibility is great, it’s crucial that distributed teams don’t feel they’re expected to work all the time. Managers should set defined office hours and stick to them—that means not pinging people after (for example) 5pm unless it’s a true, genuine emergency.

If workers see their manager turning off Slack notifications and not replying to email outside of work hours, they’ll understand that on your team, work-life balance is more than just a buzzword.

MORE IDEAS FROM 6 Ways Companies Can Help Their Employees Overcome Burnout In A Distributed World

Boundaries are about more than just work hours. You may have less control over your distributed team’s work environment, but there are still ways to help them create a healthy separation between their work and home spaces.

These don’t need to be complicated or demanding. Even something as simple as sharing the day’s high and low points on Slack, then signing off together, can really help people mentally clock out.

Burnout in the workplace

Burnout is more than a bad day or a busy week—it’s about ongoing, compounding factors that make your work environment so draining that no amount of positive thinking or good nights’ sleep can pull you out of it.

The impacts of burnout are serious, even from a purely financial perspective. According to an influential WHO study, burnout costs us a staggering one trillion dollars in lost productivity every single year. It’s also a major driver of employee turnover; in one survey of senior HR leaders, nearly half shared that burnout was responsible for 20-50% of their annual resignations.

Make video meetings work for you. Rather than feeling tiring, redundant or draining, video should make communication faster, easier, and more fulfilling.

  • Step one - keep it short. 30 minutes is a great sweet spot for video meetings. Don’t bump it up to 60 minutes without a really compelling reason.
  • Next, hide your self-view. Constantly seeing your own face is unsettling and distracting.
  • You can even take it a step further, and consider audio-only meetings wherever possible. Or, try getting the best of both worlds by saying a quick hello, then agreeing to turn off your cameras when it’s time to get past the chit-chat and down to business.

Reasonable expectations are key to creating a sustainable remote-work culture that brings out the best in everyone, and that starts with clarity.

Leaders should draft policies that get rid of all ambiguity around how, when, and where employees are expected to work. That’s how you avoid worker confusion and anxiety, or worse, the ‘always on' culture that’s a recipe for burnout.

Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean your job is flexible. Rigid, overly-controlling policies, such as monitoring employees’ computer activity during office hours, make it harder for people to manage their own needs, taking away autonomy and contributing to workplace stress.

While some level of time synchronization is necessary, if leaders can keep an open mind towards what tasks can be completed asynchronously, they’ll find that a little flexibility goes a long way towards creating an agile, responsible remote team that enables everyone to function at their absolute best.

Employees aren’t machines—they’re real people who have lives, loved ones, and personal responsibilities. That’s why to beat burnout, distributed teams should be led by compassionate, human-centric policies that support employee health and happiness.

That could include programs to help working parents manage childcare, or regular check-ins to assess employee satisfaction and workload. These kinds of steps will both reduce employee stress, and help managers proactively stay aware of their teams' needs.

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The transition from WFH to the office
  • Strong HR strategies. Not only can an HR team connect and support individual employees, but also use their platform to teach employees how to support each other, creating a positive chain of office-based encouragement.
  • Taking the transition back into the office at your company’s own pace is also vital if you want to prioritise mental health on the return to work.
  • When your team has returned to the office, a great way to reinitiate team bonding and introduce staff members to the post-pandemic working future is the introduction of wellbeing workshops.
  • Ergonomic care, too. Prioritizing ergonomic welfare is often forgotten within the office, leading to a whopping 86 percent of office workers sitting for up to 8 hours a day.
  • Prioritize those still working from home. As 30 percent of the corporate workforce still remains at home in 2021, it’s important for employers not to exclude them from post-pandemic well-being schemes
The steady rise of remote workers

Over the last decade, remote working has become more and more popular.

  • In 2003, 19.6 percent of people were considered remote workers.
  • In 2015, the number has climbed to 24.1 percent.
  • A 2019 study of over 1200 full-time workers showed that 62 percent of people were remote workers.
  • With the pandemic in 2020, even more people are forced to telecommute, and working from home became the norm.

According to many outlets, remote work is here to stay.

On Your Own Time

Asynchronous communication is when the exchanges of information among colleagues, clients or businesses do not happen in real-time, but whenever the other person is able to communicate. Our workdays are already filled with async communication (like email) but the pandemic has forced a lot more people to leave their shared workspaces and sit at their homes.

Zoom and even instant messaging is synchronous communication, and async communication is actually slow and less collaborative among team members, something which leads to confusion and even isolation.