How to get employees out of depression at a remote work place

People are locked in four walls, as in a dark room of a child’s s scarecrow, and on them from the gadgets rushes a stream of tasks from management, news reports about the growth of the sick and homework of children from school teachers. And what do business owners do? How to save a company, if employees somewhere in the virtual space

According to the Pew Research Center, the level of anxiety about the coming economic crisis has increased from 71 to 84%. According to our own research at Monitask, since the beginning of February, the number of calls to remote psychological services has increased by 64-72%. People are trying to understand the information flow: from reports about the sick and dead, forecasts of the pandemic peak to new economic initiatives and solutions. If you think that these questions do not concern your employees very much, then you are wrong. After months of self-isolation, many were in depression. The reasons are the same and everyone has their own: irritation from being in a confined space, psychological fatigue, fear for themselves and their loved ones, fear of tomorrow.

Leaders, by the way, are not devoid of anxiety as well, anxiety for their own ability to hold on to business and overcome the turbulence zone is mixed with worldly issues: “It’s like I’m driving from a steep slope and I can’t slow down, feeling the fall. Queries to the coaches became frequent: “What should I do if managing a business from an apartment with two small children and a working wife, requires special mental hardness, and I miss it?

In the near future, we will have a low touch economy, formed by new habits and rules whose focus is to save ourselves. Therefore, the new reality will be universal distance, work, and management of life from home under the motto “isolate and separate. Under these conditions, it is necessary not only to prevent a decrease in productivity but also to do everything for its growth, despite the personal circumstances.

I want to focus on three decisions and advice to managers, which are designed to help the team return to the status quo.

First, you need to learn to trust the staff without knowing for sure what they are doing at the moment, whether they are working on work tasks or solving personal problems. Trust and understanding from a distance is our new competence that needs to be mastered. The time has come to follow E. Hemingway’s advice: “The best way to find out if you can trust a person is to trust them.” Of course, it is important to use a proper employee attendance system for remote work, to set tasks accurately, and finally to work on feedback and quality of virtual meetings. It is necessary to understand that the social distance causes a yearning for the past: people, not meeting face to face, are deprived of the former collective communication and unity (as a couple of phrases in the corridor used to warm up).

Secondly, at remote meetings the manager should allocate time for a short conversation on the principle “is everything good in your person and in your family?” and give employees time to talk and feel part of the team. This reminds, on the one hand, of an office conversation over a cup of morning coffee, and on the other hand, prevents burnout and reduced productivity. Here managers should share their stories about how they cope with similar conditions, and literally demonstrate the model of expected behavior.

Third, in addition to what you do for your employees every day, open up the possibility for them to take care of their personal space online with the help of specialists. A simple and inexpensive way to show real care for your staff is to use the hotline services. It can be a city, federal, or corporate support service with social specialists – psychologists, lawyers, doctors, financial consultants to solve the problems of the employee and his family. It will be useful if the manager himself shows an example of what kind of request he calls for support, how he learns to trust the recommendations, receives assistance in his circumstances.

These actions will help not to accumulate experiences and negative emotions, to form a digital skill for the near future – to solve their legal and financial issues in mobile and remote way, to organize personal and office life as the boundaries between them are erased.

In my opinion, a tangible result of following these tips will be the ability to redirect the energy of people from panic to creation. You will get a staff adapted to the new way of “low touch of life”, modern, mobile and psychologically stable, and thus, workable and energetic.

Today, ahead of the ubiquitous offensive of remote social environment, you are already creating a contour of corporate culture without social tension, forming the ability to use psychological services to control states and personal harmony. In other words, you show the way out of uncertainty into a state of personal well-being.

And lastly. In order for business not to get into the new reality of the “dark-dark room” and “dark-dark employee”, who is depressed and has lost enthusiasm, it is important to show timely care – turn on the light!