The current COVID-19 outbreak is proving to be one of the most significant issues faced by individuals and businesses alike for more than a generation.
Many workers have now been working from home for a considerable period of time - which may mean that emotions are running high, and some may be struggling.
And, after a recent poll from People Management and CIPD revealed that staff anxiety would be the biggest challenge employers face during the coronavirus crisis, it is no surprise that many of us will be wondering how we can best support our colleagues through these trying times.
If your team is new to remote working, it could present a host of challenges that you’re unfamiliar with. With this in mind, we’ve put together our top five tips for maintaining employee wellbeing during these uncertain times:
1. Ensure everyone maintains a positive work/life balance
When working remotely, it can be easy to slip into a routine that sees you working longer hours and taking shorter breaks. You wouldn’t do it in the office, so why are you doing it at home?
Encourage your team to take regular breaks away from their designated workspace - it can be vital for enhancing and maintaining productivity. They should also be taking a proper lunch break, and getting plenty of fresh air (even if that means going and standing in the garden).
2. Remember: A pandemic isn’t just a physical health issue
Due to the sudden onset of coronavirus in the UK, it is possible that some members of your team may be worried or stressed about the impact the virus is going to have on their lives. Thankfully, Mind has produced this useful resource, that is designed to help anyone take care of their mental wellbeing during these uncertain times.
Plus, it is worth keeping in mind that, for some, working from home can be quite isolating. You can tackle this by organising regular virtual check-ins, both with individuals and your team as a whole.
3. Keep regular communication
Life is messy for everyone at the moment, which is something we need to embrace. Everyone in your team will be dealing with the upheaval and uncertainty in their lives differently. That is why we would recommend using video for any formal discussions, as this would allow you to pick up on any non-verbal indicators of how an individual is coping.
It is also possible that some employees may be experiencing increased pressure to maintain their work productivity in a new environment. It is vital to acknowledge that sometimes, you won’t be as productive while working from home - but there are ways to improve.
4. Encourage self-care
We all have unhealthy strategies for dealing with stress - the key is to make sure you replace the bad habits with beneficial ones.
During times of stress, it is essential to stay connected with friends and family - even if it is virtually, via an instant messenger or video call. Even though working is important, properly taking care of yourself will be more beneficial to your organisation in the long-term.
If any members of your team are struggling, then Mental Health First Aid England have put together this helpful resource to help employees protect themselves from stress.
5. Utilise the available support
Make sure your team is aware of the wellbeing support available within your organisation, and how they can access it. The current times can be very challenging on an individual’s mental health - and the increased stress of working from home may be detrimental to their wellbeing.
An increasing number of organisations are finding new and innovative ways to support employees virtually, whether that be through online counselling sessions or live-streaming a workout. If in doubt, ask your team - they’ll know what they need best.
During these tough times, there is no denying that the health and wellbeing of your workforce is paramount. Besides, prioritising the safety and wellbeing of your workforce during the COVID-19 outbreak will ultimately help future proof your business. If you can prove to staff now that you have their best interests at heart, you will be helping to guarantee that most of them will return to the business when things return to normal.
Here at MDA Training, we understand that we are all united by the challenges presented to us by COVID-19. That’s why we’re currently pioneering digital simulations that will help strengthen the communication between remote workers. Through virtual and experiential learning, we can help enhance the working from home experience, for you and your team.