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Activities to decrease stress levels in remote teams

Author:
Emelie Heikura
Date Published:
December 2022
Length:
5
minute read
Activities to decrease stress levels in remote teams

Remote work and hybrid work have lots of benefits! When Gallup asked 8000 employees what they loved about remote working, five major things stood out:

·      71% loved the improved work/life balance

·      67% thought used their time more efficiently

·      62% loved the freedom to choose when and where work happens

·      58% thought it led to less burnout

·      51% loved the higher productivity they got from working from home

That all sounds great! But with almost three-quarters of employees highlighting their newly-improved work-life balance, you might think remote working is all good. The same study, also highlighted negative concerns or challenges:

·      35% mentioned that it was harder to  access work resources and equipment

·      32% felt less connected to organisation's culture

·      30% believed it decreased team collaboration

·      24% thought the working relationship with co-workers got worse (according to our report - Fighting Turnover - weak relationships with managers, was one of the main reasons to why employees decide to quit)

·      23% thought that cross-functional communication and collaboration got worse


Other challenges were unclear expectations, fewer development opportunities, less recognition and fewer opportunities for feedback (looking to improve your team's 2-way feedback? Read this). So even if we're talking about lower percentages, employees raised more negatives than positives. And many of the challenges are major drivers for stress.

Better work-life balance might be a magical answer to workplace stress. But with it comes less visibility... and difficulties for managers to spot stressed colleagues. Just image, when managers spend around eight hours working alongside someone, they typically have an intuitive sense of how that person’s doing. With remote work, you lose that clear line of sight.

But we’re all about solutions here. So – how do you fix it? Here are some ideas to reduce stress in remote teams.

1. Exercise challenges

There is a mountain of research proving exercise is a stress-buster, so encouraging your team to build healthy fitness habits makes good sense long-term.

For example, during our initiative “Health Days” we introduced a ‘Step Challenge’ where we split everyone into teams and counted their collective steps. Adding an element of healthy competition made the challenge fun and it was an easy way to involve everyone, wherever they work.

Our employees also loved the Movement Hour – an hour where everyone, wherever they are, gets up and gets moving. If you needed to walk the dog, or wanted to do some yoga, this was your time!

2. Meditation sessions

Meditation is another well-proven tactic to reduce stress at work. Mindfulness experts Headspace found that meditation actually reduced stress by 14% over only ten days.

And meditation doesn’t just decrease stress while you’re doing it. Studies show meditation actually changes your brain over time, so you’re less susceptible to stress long-term.

We've offered guided online and in-person meditation sessions to our employees - something that encouraged everyone to proactively save space for their mental health. If you'd like to that it one step further, why not include a meditation app subscription in your employee rewards and recognition programme?

3. Health and wellbeing guest speakers

We’re probably all guilty of thinking that exercise and nutrition is “obvious” must haves to reduce stress. But actually, there’s a whole world of nuance that can be super valuable to dig into.

We can vouch for that, as we recently invited a workplace ergonomics specialist to educate us for an hour’s session. And let us tell you, it’s not just about ergonomic chairs!

We’ve also hosted various speakers we’ve all learned loads from, including an elite runner talking about training, a doctoral student in nutrition, and a specialist in positive psychology.  

Creating a programme of specialist guest speakers empowers your employees to learn about their own mental health. And it’s super inclusive for remote and hybrid teams because you can record or set-up virtual sessions.

Plus, the sky’s the limit on what you could include! Bonus points for getting your people even more involved by asking for their ideas for topics they’d love to learn about.

4. Host discussion groups

One appreciated thing we’ve done at Winningtemp was hosting discussion groups dedicated to employee wellbeing topics. For example, we ran a group called ‘Sleep is your superpower’. We watched a TED talk together and then had a lively discussion about our questions, learnings, and reflections. We also used Mentimeter – an interactive presentation software – to make sure everyone’s voice was heard, wherever they’re working from.

The feedback we got was that this discussion-based format was engaging and helped cement the lessons from the talk. Plus, constructive debate itself can help foster a sense of togetherness – studies have shown this strong sense of connection can be a major antidote to stress.

5. Listen and act on employee feedback!

Look: there are definitely activities to reduce stress among your teams, whether they’re remote, hybrid, or office-based. We’re big proponents of being proactive and building an employee wellbeing programme that sends a strong message about your culture.  

But, there’s a but. Stress is complicated. Mental health is complicated. Burnout is complicated. Engagement is (you guessed it) complicated.

Your remote workers might have a better work-life balance that’s improving their stress levels. But they might also feel less connected to their colleagues and unsure what’s expected of them, which increase stress. There are just too many factors to the wellbeing equation for you to accurately guess what your people need.

That’s why many organisations are moving towards using employee engagement software to demystify employee engagement and wellbeing. So you don’t think your people might be stressed. You know. And you know why. And you know what to do next, to drive meaningful change.

Download the guide now for eight practical tips to help managers build a culture of feedback that unlocks a happier, higher-performing team.

Make the invisible visible

One of the biggest challenges of managing hybrid and remote teams is the lack of visibility. Exactly at the time when employee wellbeing is under heaps of pressure (recession, anyone?) and your people need support more than ever.

Use these five ideas to take a handle on wellbeing, reduce stress in remote teams (or hybrid ones) and, most important, move towards a culture that gets the best from everyone.

And then watch our two-minute demo video to see how Winningtemp can help!


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Emelie Heikura
About the Author
About the Author
About the Author
Om författaren
Emelie Heikura
With over 10 years of experience working in HR, Emelie is very passionate about employee engagement. In her current role as Employee Experience Manager at Winningtemp, she focuses on shaping and facilitating the employee-centric initiatives across the organisation. By combining her knowledge in exciting scientific areas such as positive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and leadership, she acts as an internal consultant to intentionally design a high rewarding, motivating, integrated and end-to-end valuable employee experience at Winningtemp.

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