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How to recognise signs of stress amongst your remote workforce

Times are tough and it’s never been more important to keep an eye out for your staff’s wellbeing.

Look out for these tell-tale signs to see if your WFH team is feeling the strain.

Slipping standards
Have you noticed a usually high-performing employee is starting to miss deadlines? Perhaps they’re submitting documents in time but the quality has taken a turn for the worse. Although some people thrive on stress, most of us struggle to complete tasks in the same way when things get too much. If you’ve noticed a pattern of standards slipping, you could be dealing with a team member who’s feeling the pressure of working from home.

Disengaged in conversations
It’s natural for anybody feeling stressed to hide away from others or withdraw themselves from conversations. Although you might not share an office there are a number of opportunities where managers might recognise that their staff are disengaged. Are they less inquisitive than usual when being briefed on work? Maybe they’ve failed to dial in on social video calls while working from home. Start building a picture of their habits to better understand if they’re behaving differently.

Negativity towards others
A team member may give off signs that they’re irritable or bad-tempered in a number of ways. Use of language in emails and video calls with colleagues is one of the first ways you can pick up on negative ‘vibes’. Paying special attention to a team member’s tone could also help you recognise stress in its early stages. If managers and their teams fail to pick up on negativity during internal conversations, it’s only a matter of time before clients experience a rash comment or hasty email.

Signs of tiredness
If you notice that a colleague regularly complains about being tired, they could be struggling to deal with pressures in their personal or work life. Some team members might try to hide their tiredness but appear drowsy during video calls or look as if they’ve taken less time to smarten their appearance. If visual cues aren’t easily recognised, you might pick up on sloppy mistakes in your staff’s work as our ability to concentrate is negatively impacted by stress.

Working longer hours
You might have noticed colleagues sending emails late in the night or in the early hours of the morning. Perhaps time stamps on documents reveal that your staff have been working on projects long after working hours. Managers should treat both of these examples with concern. They could be signs that your staff are struggling to manage their workload.

Images credits: Drazen Zigic fizkes via iStock




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