How Companies Can Help Work-from-home Employees

by Sudarsan

Many experts are expecting that COVID-19 will soon become endemic, as opposed to being eradicated. This means that while the virus may not be completely removed from existence, the hope is that it will be a part of our daily lives and that enough people will have had it for the majority of us to gain immune protection, not just from natural infection but also from vaccination.

This means that we might have to keep doing what we’re doing now—social distancing, staying home, and keeping ourselves as healthy as possible if we want a fighting chance against severe symptoms. This also means that companies might have to keep abiding by the work-from-home setup. 

Since COVID-19 is likely here to stay, companies need to plan for the long haul. Here are some ways they can help and support their employees that are working from home. 

Provide them with the necessary equipment

If companies no longer pay for office space, they can allocate some of that budget to tools that their employees will need to effectively do their job from home or wherever they may be. Here are some tools and equipment that companies can consider providing:

  • A functioning laptop or PC
  • Allowance for a reliable internet connection
  • Satellite push-to-talk (PTT) solution for employees who are working outside of the United States or places where internet services or traditional cellular aren’t accessible or available
  • Budget for necessary subscriptions like Zoom or cloud storage

Clearly define what your company can and will pay for so that you and your employees have a clear set of expectations. Ask your team what they need to do their job well and check with your finance department to know if it’s something you can reasonably provide for them. At the end of the day, their output and productivity will be for the good of your company anyway.

Consider child-care assistance

If their kids are not yet going back to school, consider offering to help them find a reliable child-care assistance service. Since the pandemic started, many companies opened virtual camps and tutorials, and you can offer to help pay for part of the fees.

This is one of the ways you can help your employees with children because while kids can theoretically look after themselves while their parents are working from home, one of the hardest parts of having kids staying home all day is to keep them engaged and make the day interesting for them while one or more parents are busy locked away in their home offices on Zoom calls.

Host virtual networking events and happy hours

The lockdowns did a number on our social life. Many of us may have to re-learn how to be with other people again, make small talk, and befriend others. If socialization is something that your company values, consider having monthly events where you and your team can spend time outside of work and talk about anything else except work-related topics. Your extroverted team members would appreciate the opportunity to catch up with their work friends.

You can also make these events more purposeful—not to mention more bearable for your more introverted employees—by inviting someone to encourage them or give them tips that can help day-to-day life easier for them. It can be a “lunch and learn” moment or a channel through which you can encourage them.

Make mental well-being a part of the culture

The COVID-19 crisis also brought another kind of pandemic: An overall decline in mental health and well-being. More people reported experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety—after all, what we’re going through is not normal. We were not designed to experience life in lockdown. If you want to support your employees while they work from home, here are some ways you can do so:

  • Do monthly check-ins with them to ask how they’re doing and how you can extend support and help.
  • Invite mental health experts to give them practical tips to manage their symptoms from home.
  • Fight against a culture of toxic productivity, even if it feels counterintuitive. You might find that when you encourage your employees to rest when they’re tired, it might do better for their output and your company.

Final Thoughts

The pandemic taught us that people are not machines and that we need to find ways to nurture people into being the best they can be during difficult circumstances. Making the best out of a bad situation is one of the marks of a good businessman, so take the lead in helping your employees while we transition from a pandemic to an endemic.

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