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This guest blog post is by Ronie Salazar.
Remote work is often presented as a perk, but it has its own challenges. Remote workers are more likely to experience burnout and depression due to long hours, isolation, and communication problems. Burnout can lead to decreased productivity and higher turnover rates in your company. In this post, I'll discuss how you can use remote working as a benefit for your employees without putting them at risk for burnout or depression.
According to a study by the University of California, San Diego’s School of Medicine, employees who work remotely have a higher chance of suffering from burnout than those that work in an office environment. Burnout is characterized by physical exhaustion and emotional depletion from prolonged stress or overwork. The study also found that off-site workers had higher rates of depression than their on-site counterparts.
Depression is a serious mental health problem. It can render people unable to work, or even lead to suicide. You may not see it, but people in your team may be experiencing burnout or depression.
The main problem is that remote workers have fewer opportunities to interact with their colleagues. They are less likely to have an office and may be in different time zones, which means you won’t be able to talk about what happened at lunch the other day or share a joke. Additionally, you might feel like you can’t ask questions if they arise because your team member isn't present. This lack of interaction can lead people to feel isolated and depressed as they miss out on regular opportunities for socialization
One of the keys to remote work is communication. You can't just walk into your coworker's office and ask for his opinion about something you're working on, but if you send an email or video call him, it's easy for him to misinterpret or overlook something important.
When communicating with someone remotely, it's crucial that you are clear and precise so they understand exactly what you mean. It's especially important when sending written messages (email or texts), as body language, facial expressions, and voice tone are not available to help clarify the meaning of a message.
Video is not a replacement for face-to-face communication, but it can be used to supplement it. Video calls are great for meetings and check-ins, and they're often better than phone calls because they're more personal and people tend to speak more openly on video (you can see body language).
Onboarding employees over video gives new hires a chance to meet their coworkers as well as get a feel for the office environment. It's also a great way for remote workers who don't live near HQ or other staff members in person to feel connected to the team from afar—and even if someone doesn't realize they need this until they move into an office, having already had these interactions will make them feel more comfortable once they start working together full time.
In addition to regular check-ins, it's important to make sure that each person on your team has their own personal goals and objectives. This will allow them to focus on their work in a way that's meaningful for them. For example, if one of your remote workers is interested in writing code for the company and learning new skills, but lacks motivation because they don't feel like they're being challenged enough by their current role as a designer, you could create a set of projects specifically designed around teaching coding skills within an interface design context.
A great way of encouraging this kind of behavior is by asking each employee what exactly they would like from their job—what would make them happier? More productive? More fulfilled? By listening carefully to what they say and responding accordingly (or offering suggestions), you'll be able to tailor jobs so that everyone feels challenged—and not just busy work all day long!
When it comes to remote work, there are many challenges that may lead to burnout or depression. But it doesn’t have to be this way! By connecting with your employees more often and making sure they know you’re there for them, you can create an environment where everyone is happy and healthy.
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