Mental health at work: Twitter Q&A review

If you missed last week's online question-and-answer session with Mind's Emma Mamo, you can find it on our Twitter feed, and here we give a fuller answer to a question that came up

Improving mental health at work, taking time off for mental health issues and leadership supporting teams’ wellbeing – these were just three of the concerns addressed in Third Sector’s Twitter Q&A on mental health in the charity sector.

To round off our week-long focus on the issue to mark World Mental Health Day, Third Sector invited Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, to run a Q&A on mental health in the workplace and charity sector.

If you missed or would like to review the session, you can see the complete Q&A on our Twitter feed via the Moments tab:

One of the questions – what do remote workers, freelancers, those occasionally working from home (and the organisations hiring them) need to be aware of? – required an abbreviated reply, so we have reproduced Emma’s full answer below:

What do remote workers, freelancers, those occasionally working from home (and the organisations hiring them) need to be aware of?

Advice for remote workers

A key issue can be isolation because it can be harder to access pastoral support from your manager and support from colleagues if you’re working remotely. If there is a time when you go into your workplace, try to schedule lots of meetings with colleagues and organise an event afterwards to make the most of your time there. Does your organisation use internal comms channels like yammer or posting on the intranet? If so, utilise these channels to stay connected. Make sure you have routine catch-ups scheduled with your manager too. Another issue can be work-life balance, so it is helpful to create clear boundaries between work and home by designating a separate area for work and stick to it – you'll find it much easier to close the door on work when you finish for the day.

Advice for freelancers

As well as isolation and work-life balance, financial worries can be an additional stressor for freelancers. Again, we would recommend you build a network of people so that you have some way to access support. Consider working in hubs with other people. Build contacts with other freelancers in your area, professional networks and so on, because they will understand the challenges you face. But don't forget friends and family.

Advice for organisations

There are extra challenges when managing someone based remotely because it is harder to gauge their wellbeing, workload and stress levels when they’re not based in the same working environment. It is vital that managers consider the importance of the skills needed to make this way of working successful. Skills such as the ability to communicate well, a high level of emotional intelligence, the will to work independently and the resilience to bounce back from any challenges that working virtually provides are all important, as is an openness to this contemporary form of working. However, this needs to be backed up by the right organisational approaches. Managers need to keep lines of communication open and regularly provide opportunities to catch up with their remote colleagues. Another key issue is finding a platform that allows your virtual team members to openly share ideas, have group discussions and collaborate effectively.

For more information from Mind, go to:

How to be mentally healthy at work

Workplace mental health

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