In certain industries, like healthcare, real estate, or services, lone working is very common. Many people prefer to work on their own, relishing a sense of independence, minimal distractions, and using their own initiative – but it’s not for everyone.
Studies have shown that lone workers are more likely to experience mental health problems or work-related stress, ultimately affecting performance and job satisfaction.
As even more businesses have adapted to employees working from home on their own this year, we take a look at how you can best support your team from a distance.
1. Communicate regularly
Lone working doesn’t have to be lonely. Encouraging regular, open communication between colleagues and with management can help your workers to feel less alone. Schedule regular check-ins to catch up in an informal manner.
As an employer, you have a duty of care for your employees, so fostering a culture of open communication means a lone worker will be more likely to raise any issues or concerns they have.
2. Schedules, breaks and burn out
Setting a realistic workload and ensuring consistent communication with your employee can help them to manage their stress levels.
Don’t forget to remind your team about breaks. It can be easy to forget if you’re working on your own, but regular breaks can help you to maintain a healthy routine, avoid burnout and be more productive.
3. Spot signs of stress
Actively looking out for signs of stress can help you to reduce the impact or minimise the cause. If not dealt with, stress can affect performance and mental health, leaving lone workers feeling isolated.
Signs of stress could include:
- Taking more time off than usual
- Being withdrawn
- Loss of motivation or confidence
- You should regularly assess the risks of work-related stress for a lone worker and take action to protect your team.
For example, encouraging a work-life balance can be beneficial for employees who don’t ‘clock-out’ from an office or other workplace. When you’re working alone or remotely, it can be easy to fall into a trap of working longer hours or taking work home with you. A dedicated workspace can help your employees to switch off properly.
4. Create a supportive environment
Working alone, whether off-site or at home, can affect our mental health. Talking openly about mental health and encouraging your lone workers to open up about how they’re feeling can help those who may feel isolated working on their own.
Aim to create a welcoming environment, even for those who are distant, by running mental health awareness days or keeping in touch with workers in a one-to-one setting.
5. Signpost to wellbeing courses or activities
Giving your remote team access to activities and guidance can improve wellbeing and boost productivity. This could involve training courses, resources, or contact details for helpful charities.
Make sure all of your employees are aware of what’s on offer – you could do this through welcome packs, monthly emails, or reminders during meetings.
With this course, expert guidance will help your team to manage lone working, identify personal strengths and increase job satisfaction.