The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and Government measures to prevent the spread of the disease have had a significant impact on our daily lives.
Thanks to modern technology, many of us can carry on working from home in a relatively seamless way. In fact, here at Brunsdon Financial the offices are closed, face-to-face meetings have been cancelled but our employees are successfully homeworking.
To many of us – including some of our employees – this will be a novel experience. Some will embrace it, others will not. As we work together to reduce the spread and impact of the disease, there is currently no choice in the matter. So how do we, as employers, maintain our duty of care to our employees, particularly in relation to their mental health and wellbeing?
Here’s a list of our top five tips that we hope will help you to address this important issue:
1. Maintain communication with your team members
You may not be able to see them face-to-face, but you can keep in regular contact through apps such as Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. Team meetings can be held virtually using these apps and could be extended to include scheduled social events, such as sharing a chat while you have your lunch or perhaps a team quiz. All of these things will reduce feelings of isolation and help employees to continue to feel engaged.
2. Review your employee benefits scheme
You may already have a wide range of benefits that employees can access online, including health and wellbeing apps or virtual medical services. Whilst they’re working from home, now will be a good time to remind employees about these and explain how they can access them.
If you don’t have these kinds of benefits, you could consider adding them to your employee benefits offer. By doing so, you could help to reduce staff anxiety and feelings of isolation and improve their mental wellbeing.
If you would like to know more about how to do this, contact your Brunsdon Financial Consultant.
3. Encourage good working practices at home
Your employees will be faced with a totally new work environment outside of their usual day-to-day routine. This can be baffling and cause feelings of insecurity. To alleviate this risk, encourage employees to establish new routines that include getting up in time to start work at their usual time, getting dressed and taking regular breaks away from their desk – including some time outdoors (obviously following social distancing rules). If nothing else, this means you don’t have to face employees who are still wearing their pyjamas!
4. Set expectations and trust your employees
Many employers will feel anxious at not being able to see what their employees are doing. Make sure you communicate your expectations to your team members and set clear goals in terms of what you want them to achieve. Then trust them to get on and deliver.
5. Discourage presenteeism
Employees may be more likely to carry on working at home than in the office if they’re feeling unwell. Encourage them to take time off if they’re ill – and you should do the same.
No-one knows how long the current crisis will last. Hopefully it will soon become a distant memory and things will go back to normal. However, it’s been interesting to see how new ways of working can be embraced whilst not affecting overall levels of customer service. Who knows, maybe some of these innovations will become the norm in the months and years to come.