The Ultimate Guide for Successful Hybrid Teams: Prioritizing Mental Health

The Ultimate Guide for Successful Hybrid Teams: Prioritizing Mental Health

 Betsy Blog (1)Betsy Scherer

Here at Venture Lane, we believe the future is hybrid. What exactly do we mean by hybrid? Think: a co-located team where some folks are working full-time in an office, some are working full-time at home, and some are mixing it up and alternating between home and office. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work forever. Because of this, Venture Lane has created a blog series to help early-stage B2B tech startups navigate the hybrid terrain as we figure out the 'new normal' together.

RELATED: Download our COVID-19 Playbook

How to Prioritize Mental Health... 

Taking care of one's mental health is more important than ever. Burnout, feelings of isolation, and increased anxiety are on the rise as remote and hybrid work continues. As a leader, it's imperative that your team understands that you value their output as an employee as well as their personal lives.....  The purpose of this post is to help leaders demonstrate to their team that mental health is a top priority, we'll cover:

  1. How to manage "work-life balance"...
  2. Why you should talk openly and earnestly...
  3. How to best manage workable hours...
  4. How to set boundaries...
  5. How to manage "parent-work-life balance"...

What are we waiting for? Let's review! 

How to manage the ever-elusive "work-life balance"...

  • Encourage your team to take time off. Whether it's one mental health day or a full week off, encourage your team to go for it. It's important to shift the mindset to taking days off for your wellbeing instead of planning days off around vacations and big trips. 
    • Bonus option! Pick one Friday a month that your entire team takes off. Herd mentality applied to vacation, can't get more 2020 than that!
  • Extol the virtues of going out in public. Many remote employees need to actively remind themselves to venture out into public - whether that's a walk around their neighborhood, grabbing a latte, or picking up groceries. Encourage your team to leave their home once every 24 hours. 
  • Move your life to-do items out of eyesight. Separating life to-do's from work to-do's is better for productivity and well as mentally separating the work-life realms.
  • Exercise. Simple but effective. Encourage your team to get their endorphins going. As Elle Woods would say, endorphins make people happy and happy people don't kill their [insert whoever your team member lives with here.]

RELATED: How to Prevent 'Us Versus Them' Culture for Hybrid Teams

Why you should talk openly and earnestly...

  • Create open communication channels. Does your team feel comfortable talking openly about how they're feeling? If not, how can you lead by example and create an open and welcoming environment? Company culture starts from the top and you're responsible for leading the way.
  • Dedicate a Slack channel to mental health. Would it help if there was a dedicated safe space for talking openly about mental health? If so, pilot a new Slack channel. Even better, participate in the channel yourself!
  • Don't let your team suffer in silence. Encourage your team to open up - whether it's talking with a fellow team member, a loved one, or a professional.
    • Yet again, stipends.

How to best manage workable hours...

  • Lead the way. Is your team over-doing it? Have you encouraged your team to take time away from their laptops?  If you believe in quality over quantity and results over effort, verify your team understands this.
  • Encourage breaks. Another simple yet invaluable practice. Coffee breaks, walks, talking to loved ones or roomies. If your team finds that they aren't taking breaks, ask them to try scheduling breaks into their calendars.
  • Set morning routines. Instead of immediately jumping on their laptops, encourage your team to do something that makes them smile before starting off their work day.
  • Keep each other accountable. If you see someone on your team working until all hours of the night, send them a reminder to take time for themselves. Are the hours hard to avoid at the moment? If so, encourage them to take a few days off when the craze ends. 

How to set boundaries...

  • Set clear boundaries and stick to them. Mentally and physically switch off when you're away from your desk. Same goes for your team.
  • Update Slack status when unavailable. If your entire team updates their status, it helps send a message when folks are offline, firms up the boundaries, and demonstrates that leadership values personal time.
  • Remove Slack from your smartphone. Is this unrealistic? If so, can you encourage your team to turn on quiet hours for Slack? Or turn off notifications? I think it's safe to say that we're all intimately familiar with how addictive it is to stay up-to-date with Slack. 

RELATED: How Hybrid Teams Should Manage the Physical Workspace

How to manage the even more elusive "parent-work-life balance"...

  • Use calendar blocks. Encourage parents on your team to specifically block off parenting time so the team knows when you’re not available. Or, as mentioned above, use Slack status updates.
  • Encourage open and honest conversations with their family. Encourage your team to chat with their family about how their hybrid setup is working out. What do they need from others? What do others need from them?

Interested in implementing a hybrid team? Learn more about Venture Lane's new membership offering and pricing.