Best Practices for Managing Employee Stress in the (Now Virtual) Workplace

employee working with digital tablet and computer laptop smart phone on wooden desk

Virtual work is the new normal, but high levels of employees stress shouldn't be.                                                                                    

Carter Liebscher|
May 7, 2020

Previously, we touched on the relationship between stress and remote work—namely, that while remote work can promote productivity and employee engagement, it can also lead to stress if your organization is using ineffective digital workplace tools.

The tools your organization use have a great impact on how stressed—and thus engaged—your remote employees are. A 2017 United Nations report found that 41% of remote workers reported high levels of stress compared to 25% for office workers. The causes of this stress are varied: little work-life separation, busy households, incommunicative managers.

These stressors are exacerbated by the necessary transition to remote work, where documents can get lost in the online shuffle; where documents aren’t visible to the departments or individuals that need them; where documents simply being mis-titled can make employees throw their hands up in frustration.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There are a number of ways management teams and individual employees can reduce stress while working remotely.

Read below for the best practices on how management teams can mitigate remote employee stress.

Practicing transparency

Transparency is a difficult enough to achieve when working in an office. Even when your teams hold regular in-person meetings, many people’s questions are left unanswered or forgotten. There’s only enough time per meting for a topic, causing different people to receive differing amounts of value from the same meeting.

As managers start implementing new policies to match the new working environment, they should focus on increasing and fostering communication between departments. This could be updating the progress on current projects that may have been affected in the transition or simply sharing new learnings with the appropriate people.

Transparency is especially important when implementing new pieces of tech. Employees need to be assured that the tools their leaders are investing in have their best interests in mind. As put by TimeDoctor, a time-monitoring platform:

Every user of the Internet should be able to rest assured that they are giving open consent whenever data is being collected or activity is being monitored. […] You also want to let your employees know which features you are using and what they mean.

“Remote Employee Monitoring: How to Make It Work for Your Business,” Liam McIvor Martin, TimeDoctor

Sharing the right documents with the right people

One of the biggest causes of employee stress is locating the information required to perform their job. In 2018, Nintex found that, among a 1,000 employees, 49% said they have trouble finding documents they need. Similarly, 43% of surveyed employees mentioned that they have trouble with document approvals and document sharing.

Picture this: You’re a project manager working between the product team and engineers. Both departments rely on each other’s work, but the current interdepartmental communication tools you’re using don’t consolidate information appropriately.

As your organization works on an innovative initiative, you need to keep all relevant employees in the loop. Our platform allows administrators to assign specific participants, including entire departments, certain tasks at different stages in your ideation process. Not only does this help logistically, but it also helps improve employee buy-in—and engagement.

Creating a space for sharing ideas

As employees are physically apart from one another, they don’t have those off-chance conversations that can spark a new initiative, a new product, a new innovation.

At any given time, 25% of your employees are going to (or want to) submit an idea, and 40-45% of your other employees will engage with that idea to improve it or bring it rapidly to ideation.

With idea management software, your organization can tap into the wisdom of your employees wherever they are, on whatever device they’re working on.

Read our COVID-19 Rapid Response Plan to see how we’re helping our clients remain innovative—even when they’re apart.

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