With us nearly in June, many of us have now been working from home in compliance with the Coronavirus lockdown measures for around 10 weeks. This means that those of us who can, have been trying to balance working from home as well as possibly being a parent, teacher or carer and many others have been living alone. Meanwhile, key workers have been working tirelessly to look after everyone else, risking their own wellbeing to do so. With this and Covid-19 putting pressure on employers to ensure the survival of their businesses, looking after the mental health and wellbeing of your employees is trickier – and yet more crucial – than ever before.
Whether your employees are working from home or on the frontline, companies and managers need to adapt to this new normal. If you want to ensure you’re investing in the wellbeing of your workforce during lockdown but don’t know where to start, we’ve compiled our five top tips to help:
1. Check in
As a manager or director, the coronavirus crisis may leave you with little time to check in with employees; however, keeping in touch at this time is vital. You never know if your staff members are struggling with depression/anxiety, physical health issues, insomnia, relationship pressures etc. all of which affect their ability to focus and give you 100% during working hours. Employees may have legitimate concerns about workload or deadlines, requiring an open and honest conversation about realistic goals. A brief check-in doesn’t have to mean a phone call or Zoom meeting; a text or email can be just as effective. Just letting them know you care and offering support can go a long way.
2. Create a positive work culture
Even in times of lockdown, it is important for your employees to be clear on the company vision and strategy, and how they individually contribute to this. This will help to increase self-esteem and give a sense of purpose in these uncertain times. Initiating training and development programmes, providing clear communication routes to managers and directors, and implementing supportive employee schemes that encourage healthy physical and mental outlooks in the workplace are among positive actions you can take. For more info and tips on creating a healthy work culture, check out an article by Forbes which provides step-by-step action.
3. Encourage time off
Honouring and encouraging holidays gives your staff the chance to rest and recuperate during this stressful time, increasing productivity and efficiency in the long-term. Even a day or two away from work can ensure less absences and boost morale in the workplace. For the latest governmental guidance on holiday and pay entitlement for your employees, click here.
4. Watch out for burnout
Unfortunately, the reality of the coronavirus pandemic has translated into additional hours and increased pressures in the workplace. With many businesses forced to take the difficult decision to furlough staff or make redundancies, tasks are falling to other employees to complete and tensions are often running high.
Have you noticed any of the following signs in employees?
- Inability to maintain boundaries between work and home life, i.e. responding to emails late at night, not taking breaks during working hours
- Irritability / irrationality
- Quality of work starting to suffer
- Constant physical symptoms of stress, i.e. headaches, IBS, muscular aches and pains
- Exhaustion / fatigue
If so, it may be time to suggest they speak to someone in HR and access any support available, e.g. occupational health, Employee Assistance Programmes. Please see the following links to understand more about the symptoms of burnout, and how to help employees who may be suffering.
5. Encourage peer support
If you’re concerned remote working has created feelings of separation/isolation for your employees, get creative about ways to bring that ‘team spirit’ back. At krysallis, we like to share resources with each other to improve our wellbeing, such as: meditation apps (Headspace is currently offering free content to help anyone struggling with the impact of Covid-19), podcasts and books on personal and psychological development.
Check out our blog post 5 Books to Read to Improve your Mental Wellbeing.
Why not engage employees in a weekly Zoom quiz or competition? Or this could even be over email, as long as people are divided into teams and are communicating with each other. This link provides some quiz suggestions to get you started.
If you would like more advice on how to look after the mental wellbeing of your employees during lockdown, krysallis’ trained therapists are here to help. We provide a range of organisational services to help companies look after the mental health of their employees, as well as coaching solutions to improve staff performance. Find out more here, or to contact us for a consultation, click here.
If your workforce consists of key workers or you’re a key worker yourself, we are offering discounted services as a “thank you” to those on the frontline, find out more about this discount here.