The Mental Health Oasis: How Scheduled WFH Days Can Boost Employee Retention
June 30, 2023
While many small- to mid-size companies have returned to pre-pandemic work plans, the concept of offering occasional work-from-home opportunities has gained significant traction. Beyond its convenience, this flexible arrangement holds remarkable potential for improving employee mental health. As an employer, it's crucial to recognize the positive impact that remote work can have on the overall well-being of your most valued assets. This article explores the mental health benefits of setting up work-from-home opportunities that both you and your employees can live with, and why embracing this approach can be advantageous for your organization.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel
We've heard about all the usual remote-work benefits but the big one we don’t often consider is the simple fact that, when you know relief is coming, you can get through just about anything. With a WFH day on the horizon, an employee who’s feeling stressed and overwhelmed can also feel seen and heard by their employer. By focusing on cooperation among team members and responsible work habits, a planned schedule of remote work days can make all the difference when work is piling up. Deadlines can still be met, meetings can still take place, team members are still reachable as needed, but self-care is prioritized and trust is built in the process.
Decreased Morning Chaos
Whether employee commutes are 10 minutes or an hour each day, reducing the urgency of a morning routine is good for everyone. Think about your weekend or vacation days when you're able to enjoy an easy, peaceful morning. What if you could have more of that? The right start to your day makes you feel more in control and the same is true for your staff.
Employees may still have to get kids off to school or run errands before work but, even if just for one day here and there, knowing that the workday can start on a less hectic note can increase productivity and job satisfaction, lower anxiety, and improve morale. And that’s good for business!
Improved Work-Life Balance
Occasional and scheduled work-from-home opportunities provide the flexibility for employees to better manage their personal and professional commitments. Giving them more control over their schedules doesn’t mean they’re going to check out of work for the day. It does mean that they can more easily schedule personal appointments, get ahead of some household chores, and spend a little extra time with family without the worry of rushing back to the office on time.
This flexibility of course requires an understanding that work assignments will still be completed on time, but an employer that helps provide some balance is building trust and appreciation, and thus a more committed workforce.
Enhanced Focus and Reduced Distractions
Traditional office environments can be rife with distractions. Coworkers stopping by for casual conversation, clients coming by unexpectedly, the classic “meeting after the meeting”, and just general workplace activity can negatively affect employee focus and productivity. A project that might take a full day to complete in the office, may take just a fraction of that time when an employee has more control of their environment.
Standard work-from-home arrangements empower employees to create a space that fits the task at hand, enhances their productivity, and promotes a more relaxed work mindset. Whether in a convenient home office, a serene mountain rental, or a bustling coffee shop, when employees can plan on specific remote work days, they can settle into their happy place and complete tasks more efficiently. This results in heightened focus and a sense of accomplishment, thereby improving professional confidence and overall mental well-being.
Reduced Burnout and Increased Engagement
Burnout is a significant concern in our work culture and you may find that your most dedicated employees find it difficult to step away from the office. Building scheduled remote work days into the calendar gives those employees permission to take a mental break while also continuing to make progress on important projects.
The autonomy and flexibility that comes with remote work enables individuals to better manage their workload and empower them to take timely breaks. As a result, employees (especially your work-a-holics) experience improved mental resilience and will come back to the office refreshed and feeling accomplished.
Improved Physical Well-Being
Employees working remotely can more easily incorporate physical activity into their day. After a long day at work it can be difficult to find the energy for our favorite exercise routines but with the increased efficiency and the lack of commuting time that comes with a WFH day, individuals can feel free to take a little time for a walk in the park, a yoga break, or even a refreshing swim. Physical exercise is a proven stress reliever and mood enhancer, positively impacting employee mental health and overall well-being.
Permission to Pause + Trust = Employee Retention
The idea of creating a work schedule that offers a planned remote work option on a weekly or monthly basis, is one that just might be the key for teams looking for more flexibility and less stress. Working with your staff to build a remote work plan that is fair to all, with reasonable expectations, is time well spent and the benefit to your employees goes beyond convenience; it directly impacts mental health and overall job satisfaction and can lead to a more engaged, motivated, and resilient workforce, ultimately improving employee attendance and retention, and benefiting your organization as a whole.