Fight away those WFH Blues!
This week I had the pleasure of meeting a friend at my office for a catch-up over coffee. We’d not seen each other for 6 months or so. Too long. We talked about family, sports, and what had kept us so busy since summer. Then we talked about how we felt. True emotions. Not easy for anyone but a sign of real friendship. We’re both a similar age with friends and family. We both run successful businesses, yet both of us feel that something has been missing in the last few years.
“Social Isolation was associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Working from home and social isolation can be bad for mental health for a variety of reasons. For one, being isolated from other people can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection, which can negatively impact our mental health. In addition, being out of the social atmosphere of the workplace can make it more difficult for people to stay motivated and productive, which can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Furthermore, not having a clear separation between work and home life can make it more difficult for people to “turn off” and relax, and equally “turn on” and work. Overall, while there are some benefits to working from home and social isolation, it is important to find ways to maintain social connections and boundaries between work and home life
The ability to collaborate and engage with colleagues can be a key motivator for going to the office. In addition, the social atmosphere of the workplace can provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and support, which can be beneficial for career advancement and overall job satisfaction. while there may be some surveys that do not find socializing to be a top reason for going to the office, it is likely that many people do value the social aspects of work and find them to be an important part of their job.
As an employer, it is important to recognize the value of human interaction and engagement within the workplace and to take steps to support and nurture these connections. This can include creating opportunities for employees to collaborate, such as through team-building activities, group projects, and regular meetings and discussions. It can also involve providing a supportive and inclusive work environment, where employees feel comfortable expressing themselves and forming connections with their colleagues. Additionally, employers can promote mental health and well-being by encouraging employees to take breaks, engage in stress-reducing activities, and connect with others outside of work. Overall, fostering human interaction and engagement within the workplace can lead to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being for employees.
So for some of us…. being in the office can feel like a slog, but at least if we’re all together in the office we can fight the blues as a team, in a space we Love.
Here are a few ideas for ways you can encourage your employees to return to the office:
- Communicate the benefits of returning to the office: Remind your employees of the benefits of in-person collaboration, such as the ability to have impromptu conversations and build relationships with coworkers.
- Make the office a welcoming and enjoyable place to be: consider providing comfortable seating, suitable ‘quiet’ zones, and practical collaboration space, as well as treats and coffee to make the office a more enjoyable place to spend the workday.
DON’T BE FOOLED, A ‘DESTINATION OFFICE’ WILL ALWAYS BEAT GIMMICKS.
Christian Logue, MD of Sagal Group, explains how treating your employees like grownups is the key to hybrid success.
- Offer flexible work arrangements: If possible, consider offering flexible work arrangements such as the ability to work from home one or more days per week. This can help employees feel more in control of their schedules and reduce feelings of burnout.
- Encourage employees to take breaks: Encourage employees to step away from their desks and take breaks throughout the day. This can help reduce feelings of burnout and increase productivity.
- Provide support for employees who are struggling: If you have employees who are struggling with returning to the office, consider offering additional support such as access to counseling services or time off to adjust to the transition.