Hybrid work has many benefits but it also presents challenges that can impact mental health. As a supervisor or leader, it is important to be proactive in taking action to support your mental health and resilience, as well as the mental health and resilience of your direct reports and teams.
There are many things you can do to make the mental health of you and your team a priority. To start, you should try to understand the factors that contribute to overall mental health and the factors that make it more difficult for us to cope with challenges.
How do I support the mental health of my team in a hybrid work environment?
Visit UBC's comprehensive mental health resources for leaders page, which includes information specific to remote leaders.
Share the link to UBC's comprehensive faculty and staff mental health resources page with your team.
Suggest that individuals learn about mental health through UBC Thrive, an annual mental health literacy campaign that includes virtual events.
Ensure your teams know how and where to register for mental health training or education programs:
- Visit UBC's mental health training, on-demand workshops and consulting services page for a full list of available training programs.
- You can also search under "Wellbeing" in the Workplace Learning Catalogue for upcoming training.
Consider enrolling your department or unit in the Not Myself Today program. This evidence-informed workplace mental health initiative includes a digital portal with downloadable learning materials, activities and resources to support mental health in the workplace.
My team is working remotely and I’m looking for general tips to support their mental health
Ensure ongoing communication and connection: Encourage ongoing formal and informal opportunities for virtual connection within your team. Use virtual meeting options with video on. Share community events. Reinforce that you are accessible to meet with direct reports as needed to address concerns. Embed a wellbeing check-in in one-on-one and team conversations.
Encourage your team members to support their wellbeing: Openly acknowledge the importance of mental health. Frequently share services and resources that are available virtually or by phone to support faculty and staff wellbeing including EFAP and extended health benefits. See how our benefits helped leaders support faculty and staff in these scenarios.
Recognize the impact of isolation: Look out for significant changes in a team member’s personality or work, as it may be a sign that they are struggling or need support.
Foster an appreciative work culture: Thank individuals and teams for their ongoing contributions regularly. Recognize efforts especially when workload and uncertainty are high.
Be flexible and encourage work life balance: Model supportive behaviours such as taking vacations and breaks, practice self-care and prioritize and balance your workload. Encourage flexible approaches to work hours when appropriate. And don’t forget to manage your own stress, here are a few tips to help you stay on track.
Ref: Bersin, J., Sull, C., Sull, D., O'Reilly For Higher Education (2020). Five Ways Leaders Can Support Remote Work. MIT Sloan Management Review.
Support mental health and resilience
UBC recognizes the key role that mental health plays in the workplace. Mental health impacts everyone at UBC, not just those with a mental illness. We are committed to enhancing mental health and resilience for all. This includes increasing mental health literacy and focusing on decreasing mental health stigma while equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive.
- Create opportunities for your team to stay connected and openly discuss mental wellbeing at meetings, performance reviews, or through other communications channels on a regular basis. Learn more about having supportive conversations.
- Acknowledge the importance of mental health in the workplace and model implementing strategies to support your mental health.
- Support your team members to implement strategies to support their mental health, including participating in programs. There are many UBC and community resources compiled for you as a leader that you can then share with your team.
- Create a psychologically safe environment that allows employees to raise issues around workload capacity or to manage requests with clear boundaries and expectations. Role model these behaviours when able.
- Recognize the impact of isolation and loneliness from working remotely. Pay attention to significant changes in a team member’s personality or work, as it may be a sign that they are struggling and check-in on their wellbeing.
Access UBC’s Linkedin Learning remote work playlist, specifically curated to support leaders in building personal wellbeing and team resilience and the creation and maintenance of healthy and inclusive leadership practices. Discover strategies and tools to enhance mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and across teams, boost social intelligence, and support equitable and inclusive workplaces.