Laptop open on the kitchen table. Steaming cup of tea sweetly scenting the air. Your favourite playlist on Spotify.
This sun-kissed, sepia-filtered image of remote working has been a dream for many of us ever since Instagram influencers around the world decided it was the ultimate #lifegoal. The carefree atmosphere, the independence, the sweatpants just out of view of the webcam. For all intents and purposes, it’s a picture of work and life in perfect harmony.
And after the last couple of years, this image has become a real option for many of us.
In fact, 16% of companies worldwide are now fully remote. And by 2025, 22% of Americans will be working remotely.
‘Nearly two-thirds of people who work from home feel sometimes isolated or lonely. And more than one-sixth of home workers feel like this all the time.’
The bigger picture
It’s an exciting new era. But what about the things not in the image? The bustling morning commute reminding you of your place in the great machine? The mini soap opera of office dramas? The colleagues who once made you coffee but now only appear as pixels on a screen?
Feeling cut off when working remotely is totally normal. After all, working from home can mean being alone for hours or even days on end. So it’s not surprising that nearly two-thirds of people who work from home feel sometimes isolated or lonely. And, worryingly, more than one-sixth of home workers feel like this all the time.
Mental health warning signs like these can’t be ignored. Left unchecked, they can take a huge personal toll and lead to even more serious issues. Even employers can feel the effects, with depression and anxiety costing the global economy US$ 1 trillion every year in lost productivity.
And with remote working becoming more commonplace around the world, we can’t keep pretending the image of the smiling, #livingmybestlife homeworker tells the whole story.
Getting our heads around mental health
At Brandbuch, we’ve always been remote-first. It works for us, but only because we know that riding out the highs and lows of the home office means actively maintaining our mental health in all sorts of ways.
‘We think it’s time for businesses to lead the conversation about mental health at work.’
So we invited Clinical Psychologist Dr Stacey Hemmings from Amplify Your People to run a session with our team. It was a really helpful workshop, and we all came away feeling more confident spotting and managing the mental health challenges that come with working remotely.
Inspired by Dr Hemmings and drawing on our years of remote working experience, we want to help our team and others around the world identify and overcome these challenges.
Because managing our mental health is good for people, and good for business. Research from the World Health Organisation shows that for every US$ 1 put into scaled-up treatment for common mental disorders, there’s a return of US$ 4 in improved health and productivity.
So we think it’s time for businesses to lead the conversation about mental health at work.
The Brandbuch Mental Health Manifesto
This is our first step. Our Mental Health Manifesto. A visual and verbal expression of how we see mental health in the workplace, and how we can all get the most out of our relationships, our spaces, and ourselves.
Every circle is a person.
No circle is perfect.
They each flex and adapt as they learn, improve, and influence each other.
All the circles together are a company.
When the circles grow, the company grows.
In the middle is a space shared by all the circles.
Where every member of the company belongs, where they’re heard and respected.
The space changes size and shape, depending on the time and energy invested in each circle.
But each circle always uses the whole space.
So they each get out everything everyone else puts in.
This is how we see mental health in the workplace.
A circle of support.
Each of us should feel supported inside and outside work.
No pressure to be successful.
Just the freedom to be us.
So we can all evolve in our own way.
Using the ideas and philosophies in our manifesto, we’re going to deepen our understanding of mental health and paint a new picture of what remote work really means. A picture without a filter, where we all feel free to be ourselves, and know how to be there for each other, wherever we are.
We’d love to see more companies and teams making a mental health manifesto. We think it’s a really effective way to unite your people behind the things that matter, and help everyone feel more supported and less alone.
If you’d like to discuss mental health, manifestos or anything else in this article, just get in touch with us.