For Mental Health Awareness Week, businesses are being urged to take good care of their locked down and furloughed employees.
Carlene Jackson, CEO of tech company Cloud9 Insight, says staff should be involved in investment, be given flexible hours and have lots of time off to cut stress and boost productivity.
Here are Carlene’s five ways to reduce stress and be kind to employees working from home.
1. Offer flexible hours
Allowing your team to choose the hours they work is one of the best ways to reduce their stress and help them feel empowered.
We all have times when we are highly productive and also have times when we feel like not doing too much. It makes no sense to force everyone to work a 9-5. So, wherever possible, let your team choose their working times.
2. Provide the right to personal days
This is a concept which is very big in America and we have introduced into our company. Employees are allowed to take four days off per year, whenever they need to.
It might be because they are a bit worn out and need a lie in, or perhaps they feel they need to spend some time with the family. Whatever it is, at short notice, they can have the day, fully paid.
3. Consult staff over investment decisions
Giving staff the chance to get involved in big decisions in the company also boosts and a sense of worth. We recently applied for a £100,000 loan as part of the government’s bounce back scheme and I asked all of my staff for written feedback on how the money should be best invested.
4. Boost new skills through training
Industry is constantly changing so ensuring staff can always improve their skills will give them a greater sense of job security. Giving staff regular opportunities to learn and grow is key to reducing stress when homeworking, and gaining new knowledge and skills is also the perfect way to make use of the extra hours gained from not having to commute to work.
5. Create the right culture
Overall, it is the culture of the company that counts. If your working environment is positive and fun it will also be productive. At Cloud9, we run a virtual water cooler from 8am – 8pm so people can virtually bump into one another when they are taking a break.
We also have a dedicated ‘fun and good news’ channel to encourage the kind of positive sharing in the virtual environment that people enjoy naturally in a working office. Company culture starts at the top, so business owners must take responsibility and ensure they set the right tone.
Carlene Jackson is the CEO of Brighton-based tech company Cloud9 Insight, a Microsoft Gold Partner which has provided more than 700 UK businesses with cloud-based CRM software systems.
Founded in 2010, the company has 30 staff and is also an award winning provider of training and apprenticeships programmes, which it runs through its sister company, Vantage Academy.