Workplace mentoring programs bring a lot of unique benefits to the office but what happens when the office closes? As many organizations continue to practice social distancing to stave off COVID-19 infections, employees are encouraged to work remotely as much as possible. However, this can present some difficulties for individuals who are having to grapple with the challenges of remote working, distractions at home and concerns over their health and safety. The ability to stay in touch and connected with a mentor can be a boon for those adjusting to life as a remote employee.
Working from home can come with its own list of challenges including:
Mentors that have a good understanding of the drawbacks that come with remote working will be in a good position to help mentees overcome them. This doesn’t mean a mentor needs to have personal experience working from home, but rather that they can offer some guidance on how to prevent these challenges from becoming problems. For example, encouraging healthy eating can help the remote mentee avoid developing unhealthy habits such as too much junk food.
One of the biggest issues that come with remote workplaces is the possibility of social isolation. When you work at home you miss out on the collaborative nature of an office, such as gathering at the water cooler, going out for lunches with co-workers, etc.
To overcome this hurdle, mentors should connect often with their mentees either through a video conference or phone call. This is particularly important during social distancing times as many individuals live on their own and so miss out on connecting with others in their household.
Another one of the ways a mentor can help support a mentee in this situation is to encourage the mentee to take breaks from work. Getting outside, even while maintaining social distancing, is a good way to re-connect with others. A mentor can also help find online groups or activities that the mentee can take part in. These can include training webinars, virtual get-togethers or online discussion groups. Thanks to the internet and tools like video chats, many local interest groups have started to find ways to connect online. These activities can combat feelings of social isolation in remote work situations.
Many people believe that mentoring focuses on skill and career development. While that is a primary component of the relationship, there are other benefits as well. This includes how a mentor can be an emotional support to the mentee, particularly in difficult times.
There are some things to keep in mind when you are using mentoring as a form of emotional support:
Even though mentors and mentees will not be able to meet in person for the next little while, it is important to keep the connection strong. There are some great ways to continue mentoring with virtual tools. Mentoring software is one of the best ways that your organization can manage remote mentorships to ensure participants are getting what they need from the program. Together has the capability to guide you through the process from registration all the way to reporting.
In addition, there is no reason you can’t start a mentoring relationship while working remotely. If you are looking for a mentor who could be a strong emotional support, keep your eye out for the following characteristics:
Whether you are just starting a mentorship or continuing to connect with a mentor or mentee that you have been with for some time, remember that you are a key person in that individual’s life. With the right approach, you can become a good emotional support for them during these tough times.
To find out more about how Together mentoring software can help you stay connected, contact us for a free demo.