Breaking the Stigma Around Mental Health at Work
HR professionals play a vital role in encouraging employees to seek mental health support, here’s how triiyo can help.
Eda Caspillo, Marketing & Sales Coordinator
Learn about the importance of human connection during this crisis, and how top companies are leveraging strategies for virtual teams. triiyo’s new Community feature makes driving social capital easier than ever before.
Human connection is fundamental in order to thrive. Yet, it’s at an all-time low as remote working becomes the norm for many organisations due to the pandemic.
We’ve experienced this sudden move towards hybrid work; a blended model whereby some employees return to the physical workplace and others continue to work from home.
Microsoft’s (2021) annually conducted ‘Work Trends Index’ surveyed over 31,000 employees across the globe as a means of identifying notable trends from the past year of remote working.
The disruption of hybrid work has undeniably left its mark on the world. “With over 40 percent of the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year, a thoughtful approach to hybrid work will be critical for attracting and retaining diverse talent” (Microsoft Trend Index, 2021).
It’s critical that managers start being intentional about fostering social interactions, by creating opportunities for individuals to network and build new connections outside of their close-knit teams.
Reality of remote working
Across the globe, the message is clear: the increased flexibility of remote work offers people the chance to be more productive with their time, feel more fulfilled at home, and closer to their families.
On the other hand it also brings new challenges: when work happens at home, we often struggle to maintain healthy boundaries and connections.
The toll on human relationships is undeniable, as loneliness and mental health become urgent national concerns.
Even prior to the pandemic, Australia experienced an epidemic of loneliness. The Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University produced The Australian Loneliness Report in 2018, based on a national survey of adults.
The report found “half of those surveyed (50%) sometimes or always feel alone. Nearly 55% of the population feel they lack companionship at least sometimes. This number is highest in young adults 62%) compared to seniors (46%).”
COVID-19 has created widespread social isolation and exacerbated the epidemic of loneliness. The Index showed that 65 per cent of people are now craving more in-person contact as a means to bolster a sense of connection at work (HRM, 2021)
“In Australia, close to 1 in 3 workers experienced decreased interactions with co-workers compared to 40 percent globally,” says Evan Williams, director of the Microsoft 365 Business Group at Microsoft Australia.
Where many had hoped for an employer flexible enough to let us work from home, many now hope for an opportunity to be let back into the office.
Top 10 tips from leading companies
We gathered some great recommendations from leading companies such as PwC (2021) and Deloitte (2021) in terms of strategies for keeping virtual teams connected.
Schedule a daily group check-in. Turn on your camera and say hello in person.
Leaders and managers should implement standing office hours so people can dial in and discuss whatever topics are on their mind.
Make use of shared calendars or create a separate log to record projects, hours, vacation and sick days to track everyone’s availability.
Champion health and wellness:
Chart an at-home exercise program and other ways to stay healthy.
Conduct a step challenge.
Keep a virtual shared collection of recipes and ideas for healthy, tasty meals and snacks.
Host a virtual happy hour, coffee or lunch break, with everyone bringing their beverage or food of choice to a video chat room.
Take 15 minutes out of your day to walk and talk as a team.
Develop creative team engagement challenges on a regular basis - for example workspace photos, recipe sharing, themed doodles or themed dress days. Consider a small prize for “winners” as voted on by the team.
Conduct virtual tours of your team member’s workspaces, to build empathy and so everyone can see what it's like for colleagues to work remotely (less privacy, interruptions from family members or pets, etc.)
Let people get to know your new “coworkers” (spouses, children, roommates and/or pets) by hosting an event where everyone can mingle virtually.
Embrace technology tools for collaboration - set up a “virtual water cooler” discussion board/chat room where people can spend a few minutes engaged with their colleagues in casual conversation.
At triiyo, we make staying connected easier for organisations, as our aim is to drive human connection beyond Business As Usual (BAU). The above recommendations are handy to keep in mind, however, we offer a simple tech solution for driving social capital amongst virtual teams.
We all know Zoom, Teams, Email and Slack are great – but they don’t replace the true feeling of social interaction with your colleagues.
Say hello to Communities at triiyo.
Our new feature allows colleagues to stay socially connected enabling companies to improve social capital across distributed, remote working teams and hybrid workforces.
By giving employees a way to establish social connections beyond BAU, this will instill a sense of human connection which drives the many benefits of having a strong social capital including “belonging, proactivity, feelings of trust and safety, participation and more” (Work Human, 2015).
Book a demo with triiyo today and trial our connectivity platform in your organisation.
References: Australian Psychological Society (2018). Australian Loneliness Report. Deloitte (2021). Keep your team connected and motivated. HRM (2021). How has a year of remote work impacted our connections at work? Microsoft (2021). The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? PwC (2021). How to stay connected when working remotely. Work Human (2015).Social Capital: What It Is & Why Your Employees Need It.