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Encourage Remote Workers to Reach Out to the EAP to Help Manage Stress

Encourage Remote Workers to Reach Out to the EAP to Help Manage Stress

If your company has remote workers, encourage employees to reach out to organization resources for help if they notice distress associated with their positions. remote workers stress and employee assistance programs

Remote Work Stress?

Many employees and managers think that the remote worker position is just this side of nirvana. Certainly, it has advantages, but the truth is that it also has pitfalls. Many pitfalls are discovered only later, and some pitfalls may be dismissed or ignored causing stress, while others are adapted to in unhealthy ways that cause company productivity to suffer.

The ultimate negative impact of employee experiencing remote worker stress (beyond personal health problems) is employee turnover.

If you are an HR manager, EAP, or other workforce management pro, then you already know that reducing turnover is the ultimate cost-benefit measure. That's because it is the most costly to the bottom line. It can pay to explore how your unique skill set can help employees be happy, healthy, and productive as remote workers.

The key message for your remote workers it to not let frustrations drag on too long.

Research shows remote workers can face unique challenges. These include loneliness, the inability to process stress with peers, laugh, "chew the fat", and feel the companionship that validates all of us as social creatures.

Other stressors include irritability from interruptions at home. (Changing the laundry is more important than solving world hunger when the dryer buzzer is going off.)

And then there are "go-it-alone" technology issues: Why is the printer producing those annoying blue stripes? There may be no in-house IT person available to perform a "911" on the HP. 

Some employees worry about completing tasks correctly. Turning to someone nearby to ask a question may not be an option. Hours or days may pass before an answer to the question is obtained.

Employees also experience a degree of resentment from being unable to "switch off" from work to non-work. Some conscientious workers struggle with work-life balance. Getting something done correctly or completely may take priority no matter how long it takes, even at the expense of personal health and family well-being.

When employees walk away from their desk at day's end, but have left something undone, it can gnaw at them and interrupt their ability to relax until they jump out of the chair (or bed) and go finish it.

Add parenting conflicts to the mix. Guilt at being unable to attend to a child's needs immediately can be a serious stressor for some. 

It's a fact, employees in close proximity to the company or the supervisor may be treated with more favorability and opportunities. Many employees are very aware and anxious over this dynamic. What's the intervention?

Did I hit all the issues? Probably not. Can you add to this list? See the link and attachment for a more complete discussion.

Can you see how the EAP or other support is an important way to keep a remote workforce humming with job satisfaction? Educate your employees to reach out out. The following links might help. Resource #1:  Program Flyer Attached Resource #2:  Handout Link Free