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5 Ways to support employee mental health and work-life balance for remote teams

Author: Jenna Everhart 

Life in a remote or hybrid workplace can be both satisfying and challenging, but for HR professionals, the situation is a bit more complicated, as remote teams must navigate the delicate balance between work and personal space – which are ultimately one and the same. Taking steps to ensure that all employees not only have the tools needed to perform their daily work, but the benefits and workplace policies that encourage a healthy work-life balance is essential for creating a remote culture that attracts, retains, and rewards top talent, without causing them to burnout.

Working man on video call

As senior vice president of human resources for a fully remote e-commerce company, I know that making employees feel seen and heard through a computer screen isn’t easy. That’s why our team has created a toolbox for employees that gives them the resources and support to face the challenges of balancing work and everyday life. 

If you’re looking for inspiration to improve the mental wellbeing of your workforce – whether you’re fully remote or hybrid – and to foster greater balance for employees, consider these five tips. 

  1. Seek unique partnerships that can be easily extended to all employees. Look beyond your traditional health benefits to unique partnerships that can support the mental health needs of all employees. Solutions like BetterHelp allow employees and their dependents to participate in virtual therapy sessions from the security and comfort of their own home, and on their schedule. Employers that offer flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or health savings accounts (HSAs) should educate employees about how they can use these tax-free funds to pay for counseling services that can help them address issues like stress, anxiety, depression, and many other needs. In addition to counseling services, support for challenges like substance use and infertility, both of which can negatively impact employee mental health, should be considered.

  2. Give employees the resources to separate their workspace from their home life. When you work from home everyday, it’s easy for the lines to become blurred and, before you know it, you’re working on your laptop during family movie night. HR teams should encourage remote employees to establish a dedicated work area within their home that they can close off from the rest of their lives at home. To help employees do this properly, HR teams can provide new hires with a work-from-home stipend to help cover the costs of office equipment for their homes. For example, our company sends new employees a computer monitor, keyboard, and laptop as a starting point. And, even if your company is heavy on Zoom or Teams meetings, it’s still a good idea to encourage employees to get out of their home office on a regular basis. Whether that means setting up shop at a local coffee shop for a couple of hours, hosting virtual walking meetings, or providing a stipend to cover an occasional co-working space for employees, the change of scenery can inspire creativity, productivity, and keep employees feeling mentally fresh. 

  3. Schedule time for social interaction. While everyone loves a good video meeting and the small talk that comes with them, your team will benefit greatly from regular social interaction that is purely designed to encourage fun and camaraderie. Consider scheduling short team-building breaks during the work week – such as a monthly virtual lunch and learn or interdepartmental “mixer” of sorts – and periodic bigger events outside of the workday. For example, our company has hosted a virtual charcuterie board party, escape rooms, and sports trivia activities which are always a hit. Let your creativity run free to develop opportunities for employees and company leaders to socialize and learn from each other.  

  4. Offer flexible work-life policies that promote balance. Work-life balance is one thing that all employees can agree on, but make sure your company can walk the walk when it comes to policies and practices that truly support balance. For example, offering flexible hours allows employees to take time for personal or family matters, without stressing about using PTO or losing income (for hourly employees). The way you approach business strategy can also support work-life balance. For example, making all teams and employees aware of changing business priorities and their roles in reaching company goals throughout the year can create transparency and help employees prioritize their work so they don’t always feel like they’re drinking from the fire hose. Mitigating these stressors reduces work-induced anxiety and can improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

  5. Educate employees about mental health benefits. Never assume that your employees understand their benefits. Surveys continue to show that health benefits literacy is low, and that lack of understanding can prevent employees from accessing benefits and care that could improve their quality of life and their workplace performance. Keep benefits education front and center throughout the year to help employees make the most of the support your organization offers. For example, our organization shares tips about how FSAs and HSAs can be used to support seasonal health needs, lifestyle-related health needs, as well as mental and physical health for all employees. We also offer a monthly Active & Fit perk, that gives employees discounts on wellness products and services.

Like all employers and HR professionals, you want the best for your team, but to ensure your workforce remains physically and mentally well – regardless of size or location – a little creativity and a heaping dose of empathy will go a long way.


For remote and hybrid employees, the line between personal and professional space can be fuzzy. But HR teams have the power to create a positive remote work environment for all employees, which goes a long way toward keeping employees engaged and productive, and supporting employee mental health and job satisfaction. As senior vice president of HR for our fully remote company, Jenna Everhart has developed strategies to encourage a strong work-life balance, and she is sharing some of her top tips with benefits professionals and employers in her new article for Employee Benefit News.


About the author

Jenna Everhart is senior vice president of human resources for Health-E Commerce, parent brand to FSA Store and HSA Store, the first and leading online stores for exclusively eligible FSA and HSA shopping, education, and employer solutions.


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