Remote work: Making sure employees don’t burn out
So, are you tired of having to attend one Zoom meeting after another? Who knew remote work was going to be more stressful?
Just because meetings these days are virtual doesn’t mean they are any less stressful. In fact, having to work from home can be more challenging with all the distractions and demands on your time. It also doesn’t help that some companies think they can schedule more meetings in a day since people can’t leave their homes. No wonder employees are experiencing burnout.
Create a structure
“One of the things that we tell our team is to be able to create a structure for themselves. What time you wake up, what time you prepare your breakfast, what time you want to do focused work, what time you can be doing meetings, time that you have to block off for your kids, for your family. Without that kind of schedule for yourself or structure, it will be really hard to thrive in a home-based environment,” said Altitude Games Founder and CEO Gabby Dizon.
Dizon, whose mobile and blockchain game studio has been successfully practicing remote work for years, was one of the speakers in regtech startup UNAWA‘s recent webinar. He has been sharing his company’s experience in managing remote teams. As he pointed out, nowadays our work and personal lives are all jumbled, which can be very stressful. In fact, mental health experts will tell us it is important to maintain a routine to cope with this sudden disruption in our natural rhythm.
Enabling asynchronous work
Remember how in pre-COVID days, employees used to say “this meeting could have been an email”? These days, it should be “not everything has to be a video call”.
“We set our Slack to ‘do not disturb’, for example. People know that I’ll just get back to you. You can just leave a message. It’s really important to enable asynchronous work. Asynchronous meaning not everything has to be a video call, does not have to be an in-person meeting. We’ve enabled a structure so that you can answer in your own time during the length of your work day,” Dizon said.
“If you’re able to incorporate asynchronous work, you have a much more productive workforce. Rather than trying to jam people into meetings at the same time because it’s super tiring. It’s very exhausting,” he added.
Why culture matters
Now that employees are doing remote work, how can companies encourage teamwork and boost morale when people are physically apart? This is where company culture comes in, according to Emma Ruth Guevarra, People Director of global outsourcing company TaskUs.
“We always say we have a people-first culture, we are frontline-first. COVID or not, we are big on communication, on engagement, and reinforcing our culture regardless of geography. We integrate our culture from the time that we source people, up to the time even when they are no longer with us. So we are fortunate that we didn’t have to do that much adjustment, because, you know, we’re global. A lot of our leaders are working collaboratively with other leaders. So we are used to working remotely, using Zoom and whatnot.
“But the challenge, really, in the beginning, is the frontliners. Especially millennials or Gen Z, they wanted functioning groups. They love working in groups. But we have that reinforced now because we opened a lot of channels for communication. Our leaders are well-equipped to manage them remotely. We even have our own resiliency and wellness team to help our leaders manage. Before COVID, we had yoga sessions, so we just transitioned online. And we have our online happy hour, with a lot of participants, so it’s fun. Basically, we didn’t change a lot, I guess. Just changed platforms,” Guevarra said.
So, yes, remote work can be stressful. But if companies work together with their employees to put structure and reinforce company culture, it can also be rewarding.