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2020.04.29

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How to keep the mental well-being of employees who work remotely or from home in check?


With the world’s situation pushing us to do so, telecommuting has suddenly become recommended. Some of the employees, who worked in an office and had to switch to working from their homes on short notice, might complain about their mental health becoming worse.

What business can do to maintain employee productivity when this happens?

This blog post touches upon the following four points.

We’ve compiled some tips that managers and non-mangers alike might find practical.

(1)→Anticipate your employees’ mental well-being to deteriorate.

(2)→A solution even more effective than frequent emails?

(3)→Are your suspicions making you anxious? Here’s what you can do!

(4)→Transeuro’s strategy.

Anticipate your employees’ mental well-being to deteriorate

There’s not a single person who wouldn’t feel worried about a complete change of the work environment. People prefer constancy to begin with. That’s why our brains respond with anxiety to every deviation from the “usual pattern.” This applies even to those who grumble all the time about how crowded commuter trains are and how much they don’t want to see their annoying coworkers.

The employees who are affected by the change might perceive their state as nothing more than “feeling a bit uneasy.” When they’re forced to explain what makes them feel that way, they admit that it is their slow Internet or inability to focus at home that is causing them stress. These reasons are only the tip of the iceberg.

Here, employees should realize or be told that the underlying cause of their stress is the deviation from their “usual pattern.” This would probably allow both those who vent about their problems and those who listen to them to take a step back from the problem and then communicate.

A solution even more effective than frequent emails?

Since seeing each other’s work becomes impossible, we tend to send longer emails than we used to. By doing this, we end up troubling not only ourselves but also the recipients. First, we should recognize that it is the feeling of anxiety that prompts us to write pages-long emails like that.

Additionally, since both sides are home-based now, there’s no need to worry anymore whether talking on the phone would disturb other coworkers. Apps that allow for free phone calls are now available. Making a call will save you the time that you would use for composing a lengthy email and let you deal with the matter in hand in a breeze. Plus, you’ll get to hear someone else’s voice, but these are not the only benefits. Speaking is a way to relieve your mind. You should avoid writing drawn out emails because by doing so you’ll bottle stress up inside and, on top of that, feel frustrated while waiting for the reply.

Are your suspicions making you anxious? Here’s what you can do!

What’s more, whatever the doubts and suspicions you have about your employees being hard at work as always won’t go away even if you check how long they have been working on the PC or set a work quota. If anything, preparing yourself for the worst might not be a bad idea. Set your expectations from the beginning that the first month of remote work will feel to employees like a transfer to a new department, and that their productivity is bound to drop temporarily.

What’s crucial is for everyone to understand how stressful this abrupt switch to remote work can be, and to rather focus on its benefits to enhance productivity. Sharing these common aims with everyone might be helpful in maintaining a healthy mental balance.

Transeuro’s strategy

Transeuro recommended the staff to work from home some time ago. Because of that, we have some tools at our disposal. Firstly, our employees send each other messages through an app in addition to standard Outlook emails. Though Outlook might seem sufficient enough, using an application is highly effective if there’s a need for a casual exchange of ideas on a timely basis. Secondly, when using Outlook for sharing brief information, the inbox becomes hard to navigate through. Consequently, important emails might get lost, which makes using the app in combination with the email client convenient.

Furthermore, we set up a web conferencing system early on. Therefore, after the switch to telecommuting, we hold more frequent and shorter meetings than we had before in the office. Sharing and conveying information is smoother than ever before.

After the state of emergency was declared in Tokyo on April 8th, transeuro also shifted from the recommended to mandatory work from home system. Since we’ve already made the move to remote work while considering security, our employees can currently continue their job as usual with no confusion whatsoever. At the same time, many of our translators say that nothing has changed for them.

Whether you’re working remotely or not (but we hope you do), feel free to contact us if you have any documents that you need to be translated.


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