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Managing boundaries in a virtual workplace

Gallup’s September poll cited that 45% of full-time employees in the US now work remotely – up from approximately 8% before the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote work has tremendous benefits for organisations including:

  • A larger talent pool
  • Reduced overhead costs
  • Streamlined communication
  • Greater sustainability

While many rave of the benefits of remote work many employers have also seen increased levels of employee stress, mental health issues and burnout as lines between family and professional demands blur.

So how can organizations maintain a healthy, engaged workforce and curtail health costs in this new world of work? They begin with recognizing the crucial role of managers and by providing comprehensive, easy-to-access employee assistance programs offered by highly experienced and trusted providers, like LifeWorks.

The role of managers

Managers are tasked with ensuring their teams are engaged and productive. With the increase in remote and hybrid working teams, this is primarily achieved by encouraging work-life balance. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Leading by example. An Indeed survey found that 60% of remote workers take fewer breaks now than pre-pandemic. Managers must be a model of self-care by scheduling regular lunch breaks for themselves, not being available 24/7, and encouraging team members to do the same.

  2. Establishing “communication hours.” Sending work-related messages outside these hours should be strongly discouraged and limited to critical issues.

  3. Checking in regularly. The Indeed survey also revealed that 68% of virtual workers are having a harder time maintaining a relationship with their manager, so regular discussions about how each team member is coping helps set boundaries and create a positive, open work environment. Ideally, no employee should feel reluctant approaching their direct report with a mental health issue.

  4. Promoting Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Every employee faces different challenges, so it’s important that managers are familiar with the resources, services and programs included in their company’s EAP should anyone need help.

The role of an EAP

An EAP can be a manager’s most valuable tool. Organizations and their people trust LifeWorks most because of its comprehensive services that make a positive impact on lives and businesses. All at the touch of a finger.

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