Although it is primarily an employee’s responsibility to take care of their physical and mental health and wellbeing, as an employer you also have a responsibility to support them. Happy and healthy staff are likely to benefit the workplace in terms of morale, job satisfaction, attendance levels and productivity.
Impact COVID can have on wellbeing
It has never been more important for people to prioritise their wellbeing. The COVID situation has influenced everybody in one way or another, various ways individuals may be affected include:
- Being furloughed – losing the routine and social interaction of work
- Worrying about money – receiving less pay due to reduced work, sickness or furlough
- Job security – many companies are making and anticipating redundancies
- Fatigue and exhaustion from staff who are still working, along with concerns about the safety of this
- Bereavement issues
- Ill health
- Being isolated from friends and family
- Dealing with home schooling, no childcare or other family issues
- Travel plans and holiday plans cancelled
- Not being able to seek support from doctors, dentists, counsellors etc in the same way
Impact homeworking can have on wellbeing
A recent CIPD study has found that 67% of people are enjoying the autonomy of working from home………however that means that out of homeworking staff, 33% are not enjoying it.
Working hours can have an impact on wellbeing too, the same study found that whilst working from home, 48% of staff report to working long and irregular hours. With many parents trying to juggle work alongside home schooling, and many others working alongside taking on additional caring responsibilities this has had an effect on working hours. Employees might be working late into the evening, early mornings, or spreading their hours over 7 days with no real downtime.
So how can you help?
- Communication – talk to your employees, see how they are coping and if they need any support
- Signpost to professional services – staff may need financial support, bereavement support, mental health support or other professional guidance
- Seek professional advice if necessary – this could be via GP, Occupational Health referrals, or Employee Assistance Programmes which might be available
- Encourage healthy living – you may want to consider introducing cycle to work schemes, lunchtime fitness sessions, encouraging healthy eating at work, monitoring working hours and encouraging annual leave
- Flexibility with working hours – consider whether employees could adjust their hours or compress them to balance with other demands
- Be understanding – these are unprecedented times, and everybody will have the ability to cope with different levels of stress and uncertainty
Prioritise your own wellbeing as well
Remember to seek your own support – there is a well-known quote “who motivates the motivator”……this has never been more relevant than now. It can be emotionally and physically draining to support others, or deliver difficult messages with no support for yourself or your managers… remember to prioritise your own wellbeing too!
Wellbeing can be a difficult topic to discuss and manage, but is vitally important to maintain a healthy, happy and productive workforce. There is a wealth of support available to support you, and your staff.