Staff working from home? Your IT support could help your employees’ mental health


One of the biggest changes in our lives over the past year has been that millions of people across the UK have been working from home for the first time. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend that has been building for a decade.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that 35.9% of workers performed work from home in 2020, an increase of 9.4% from 2019.

As the pandemic recedes, companies in the public, private and third sectors are grappling with whether to reintegrate staff into their premises full-time or allow permanent homework or a mix of the two.

It may make a lot of business sense, but research from the Royal Society for Public Health has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages of working from home for employees.

Many workers surveyed (45%) felt that working from home was better for their health and well-being in many ways, but 67% felt less connected to their colleagues, 59% said they felt isolated and 56% also said they had a harder time shutting down. .

Despite this, most workers did not want to return to work in an office full time – 74% wanted to split their time between working from home and working in an office.

It is clear that workers love the flexibility of working from home, but often miss the interaction with people at their workplace, its atmosphere and the fun they can have with their coworkers.

So, employers need to think about how they can support the mental health of their home workers to ensure they stay happy and productive.

You might think this is an unusual place to start, but revisiting the way you use your computer systems could be the key to unlocking vital support for your staff.

What computer products could help the mental health of your home workers?

VOIP – Or Voice Over Internet Protocol. It is a telephone system that can be used anywhere there is an Internet connection.

During the pandemic, many companies diverted calls from their traditional landline phone systems to employee mobile phones. Few companies had the time to order and purchase work mobiles for their staff when the lockdown was ordered, so in some cases these calls were diverted to the staff member’s personal cell phone. This meant that staff were often faced with out-of-hours calls and couldn’t transfer them to a coworker for help. He had to hang up, call the colleague or send him an SMS and send him a message. Customers and suppliers also used WhatsApp with staff members’ phone numbers outside of office hours, often resulting in overtime to respond to these messages.

Combine this pressure with a sense of isolation from coworkers and managers, and the situation can take a toll on mental health. Switching to a VoIP system can help alleviate some of the pressure from home workers and help them feel more connected to the team in the office. VoIP systems offer free internal calls and transfers wherever they are, and calls can be easily transferred to cell phones. You can still make local, national and international calls, and your hosted phone system has hundreds of useful features. The fact that businesses can also achieve substantial savings over standard landlines is also great for the bottom line.

Teams and Zoom – Online video calling has transformed the way we do business.

Ten different people receiving an email could read it ten different ways, and voice-only phone calls don’t allow us to see important facial expressions and body language. Video calling on platforms like Teams and Zoom allowed us to have these nuanced conversations with our colleagues. Stacking video calls throughout the day can be a problem, however, as staff then work overtime in the evenings to catch up with meeting work. If your staff tells you they’ve zoomed out, how about designating a specific day of the week as the day without video calling? Friday could be the day without zoom / shifts, for example. Giving workers the ability to make calls without the video feature turned on can also reduce the pressure. This saves them from having to rush to tidy up the guest room, kitchen, or living room before connecting.

Team messaging groups – One of the things that staff working at home lack is the feeling of chatting around the water cooler, the social engagement they get from their colleagues during breaks.

Microsoft Office 365 teams let you recreate some of that sentiment by creating email groups with easy-to-follow discussion threads. Perfect for a little joke in the office!

E-mail – The way you set up your messaging system could also provide relief to struggling home workers.

Some companies are already aware that email is one of the biggest time-eaters for most employees, and it’s disheartening when someone has replied to everything without considering whether everyone who receives it should receive it. an additional email. Some inboxes are so crowded that staff members dread opening with them. Thus, several forward-thinking companies have decided to remove the “reply to all” function from their emails to avoid this situation.

Broadband speeds – Slow internet connection speeds can be a real problem when working remotely, but it can become a big problem if you use video conferencing regularly.

Frozen screens, buffering, problems with other people hearing you correctly; these are all symptomatic of insufficient bandwidth. This can lead to increased levels of stress on calls and anxiety in people who dread using video conferencing due to the potential embarrassment of a computer glitch. By looking at your internet speeds and installing 4G and 5G SIM card routers in areas where standard connections are slow, you can not only reduce stress levels, but also increase productivity.

IT support – Staff cannot connect, internet connection is crawling, software updates do not seem to install properly.

Computer issues like this can cause a lot of frustration and when working from home you can feel like no one is there to help you. Many homeworkers feel overwhelmed when trying to solve these problems on their own. Fortunately, our support team is available to resolve many issues remotely and if the issue requires, we can send an engineer.

He breaks – Of course, when someone is in an office it is easy to see if they are taking regular breaks and taking care of themselves.

When working from home, it is important that they receive regular reminders about the physical and mental health benefits of having regular screen breaks. Getting up, going for a walk, and walking outside for at least half an hour a day are all great ways to support your mental health, and we can help you message your team to remind them to ‘take a break’.

For more information on how IT can be used to improve the mental health of your business, contact Jellyfish Business Solutions at: [email protected]


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