How to emotionally support employees who work from home

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Noah Rue

If you manage a remote team, then the mental health of your employees should be among your top priorities. Although working from home may be a dream for some, it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness for others. As a company, it is in your best interest to create a supportive environment, because doing so can improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, and encourage positive growth in your organization.

Let’s talk about the importance of creating an emotionally supportive remote work environment and how to get started.

Focus on mental health

While employers should be considerate about the well-being of their staff regardless of where they work, it is especially important when they work remotely. While there are plenty of perks of being at home, there can also be downsides. Often, it’s difficult to handle working from home, psychologically. Employees may experience newly found struggles, including feelings of isolation, which can sometimes result in anxiety or depression. Remote employees may also have greater difficulty clocking out for the day, letting their work life spill over into home life due to the closeness in proximity.

As a member of management, you need to take the steps necessary to ensure your teams that they are not alone, and you can do that with technology. Set up a group chat room where employees can talk and ask questions. You might also mark the calendar with a weekly meeting over a video conferencing platform like Zoom, where everyone on the team can see one another and talk about work or their plans for the weekend.

Management should have an open-door policy and encourage their teams to reach out whenever they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. If they are, teach them about methods to deal with anxiety, such as breathing exercises, meditation, or a walk around the block. Encourage your employees to take their breaks, daily lunches, and clock out at a regular time each day. Also offer paid time off when possible, and encourage them to use it to take vacations.

Provide tips for productivity

Many employees who are uncomfortable or stressed while working from home may also experience a decrease in productivity. Again, management needs to be there to provide a solution. There are many ways that you can improve workplace efficiency in a small office or on a remote team.

For starters, you need to implement a straightforward process for how work is assigned, how your team works, and how they send in the final product. You can use a workplace project management app, like Asana or Monday, so everyone on the team can visualize what they need to accomplish and then get to their next task with ease. This tool is also great for managers to keep an eye on the workflow and make tweaks as necessary.

Another way to improve remote productivity and show that you care is to reward your staff for a job well done. You can do that through positive feedback and public recognition. When an employee does well, send out an email to the team or mention it during the Zoom meeting.

You should also encourage employees by putting a roadmap in place that will help them to see what they can do to grow in their position, advance to a new role, or get promoted in the future. Allowing your team the chance to do something new can break up the monotony and keep them engaged.

Be there for them

While you can try a variety of tactics to improve productivity, as a manager and mentor, the main thing that you need to do is be there for your team. Start by organizing daily, weekly, or monthly check-ins where you ask how they are doing, answer questions, and give them constructive feedback.

If an employee is struggling, then show empathy by listening to their issues and apologizing if it is something on your end that is causing them stress. Then, look for a real solution. If you can’t come up with a solution on the spot, then promise to do your research and get back to them.

Finally, it is important to encourage your team to practice self-care, so they are not overworking and making the situation worse. Make sure that they are only at their desk for eight hours before clocking out and encourage them to take their breaks. If an employee needs time off to help with a family issue, then approve the request without causing a scene.

As you can see, there are many ways that management can support their staff emotionally, even if they are not there in person. Just remember that your team is full of humans, just like you, that have interpersonal and emotional support needs. Consider these tips, and you’ll have a happy, more productive work-from-home team.


Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.

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