Telework: the mental health of employees a priority

Télétravail: la santé mentale des employés, une priorité

For the first time since its inception in 2002, the montreal-based firm of créativitech Turbulent has not suffered the effects of a crisis. Even the COVID-19 has not shaken the company co-founded by Marc Beaudet.

Amongst other things, to the success of the educational platform Ma Zone CEC, the site of recipes of Ricardo and the online video game Star Citizen, the company has even expanded its team of around 80 employees. Above all, it has quickly been able to adapt to the new reality of teleworking.

“The computer firms went perhaps a step ahead, recognizes the president. Accounting was entirely in the “Cloud”, there was a system of time sheets. (…) There is also flexible schedules. All the software infrastructure that it takes to operate a company was there. The messaging platform Slack, too.”

Marc Beaudet, president and co-founder of the company techno montreal Turbulent.
PHOTO COURTESY

Upheavals in personal

However, as the employees had to cope with an intense period of stress and a real insecurity, other challenges have emerged.

“This is difficult, it is much more the mental health. These are a lot of changes at the same time. All of a sudden, you are working from home, you no longer have the right to go to the restaurant, your life becomes a little monotonous. (…) We have seen that employees take refuge in the work. They entered 40 hours in the system of time sheets, but we knew that they were 60.”

Thus, at Easter, the exhaustion of the troops was greatly felt. “People were really tired. However, we had asked anyone to go in overtime. But I think that all of a sudden change your life completely and not to leave the house, this is not tiring physically. It is tiring mentally.”

Without the benefits of sharing a professional space, where some find shelter, a primary need was born: to unplug a little bit the people from their tasks.

“Our challenge was to keep the people happy. The work can not be the only element [of happiness]. We held a “beer & fridge” virtual, we brought in a DJ for a party, it was a fancy dress competition. (…) We are assured that in all the meetings, a period was provided for the conversation not organized. For example, while one team tells its the end of the week…”

A better overview

In addition, the fact that employees working from home has changed positively certain perceptions.

“Before the crisis, the COVID-19, teleworking was still a little sore seen; one had the impression that people were going to do their laundry or mow their grass,” said Marc Beaudet. Now, in the new policies of the company, the person will be able to choose to be 100% telecommuting, or mixed or 100% in the office..”

Even if the return to the office as desired by many members of his team, will not occur probably not before several months, the chairman of Turbulent exploits fully the possibilities of virtual meetings, and briefings of projects. He was thus able to make faster decisions.

“What is surprising is that you think that because you can see [the employees] in a physical space, that is [the] control. In reality, it is really ill-informed. It is a myth. I am much more aware of my business now that when I saw my office.”

Three ways to ensure a good mental balance

  • Do physical exercise

“I called my mother, who is a great wisdom, and who was 82 years old, and I explained to him that I was a little depressed,” says Marc Beaudet. She told me “go take a walk at lunchtime.” It is one of the best pieces of advice I had during the COVID-19. […] I was going to take steps, doing the rounds of bicycle in the neighborhood. It helped me a lot.”

  • Create a routine that is reassuring

“Another thing that I did is that I took a walk up to the office – I left about 30 minutes – and I was going to make me a coffee. It was a bit like my going out to a restaurant (laughter). It is to create a routine that is reassuring. At one point, there was nothing real in this crisis…”

  • Arrange its home

“I had never been 24 hours on 24 in my apartment. I had bought in the city, small, to be close to the office, to be able to go there on foot. This is not an apartment that I had bought to live in; I had bought it for sleeping in. There, I make adjustments to improve it.”

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