Over the past couple of months, life has changed for all of us.
The terms ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ have thrown our worlds upside down.
Our usual busy schedules of rushing around from activity to activity have been stripped back at speed.
And home working has become the norm.
As every HR professional knows, any prolonged period of disruption is likely to take its toll on employee wellbeing. And this has been a big one.
While some of your employees will have adapted, many others will be facing serious anxiety - worried about loved ones, finances, juggling full time childcare alongside homeworking, and even concern over whether their job role will survive the disruption.
This means that HR’s role in wellbeing has never been more important.
So, how can HR support employee wellbeing during uncertain times?
Building a healthy attitude towards work among your employees plays a huge role. Even at the best of times, your employees’ personal lives can’t automatically be put on hold when they walk through the office door – and this is likely to be even more of an impossible task when work is also home. So, finding the right balance of encouraging hard work and accepting the effect of disrupted personal lives is essential. Flexible ways of working, easy access to booking time off, and clear support on maintaining good mental, physical and financial health will all help.
One of the most essential ways to support your people is to keep company communication going strong. Share a schedule of when and how you’ll be providing the latest updates, and make these as ‘human’ as you can – for example, regular video calls from your leaders may be appreciated. Opportunities for employees to give feedback, offer suggestions and talk about any concerns they have should also be given high priority.
Build a community
Feeling connected to your colleagues is particularly important in the case of extended periods of working from home. What started as a novelty may quickly lead to a feeling of going stir crazy. One way to help is to build a schedule of optional virtual social events to bring your people together during the working day – book clubs by video call, online gaming tournaments, at home exercise classes, photo challenges, and online ‘lunch and learn’ clubs are a few examples. Simple initiatives like these will help to keep your employees feeling stimulated, connected and valued.