Coronavirus and Isolation: Supporting Your Employees and Colleagues
Supporting your employees during the Coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to be difficult. Despite everyone working remotely and a huge amount of workers being furloughed, there are steps you can take as a business owner or HR team to ensure your team is still getting the support they need whilst working from home.
It’s important to note that whilst we are working from home, employees are all in different situations. Some employees may be enjoying the extra time spent with family members. Whereas others may be feeling stressed trying to juggle looking after children and getting work done. Some may have used going to work as escapism from problems at home and now they’re finding it difficult. The struggle in supporting all these employees when it comes to mental health is trying to understand the difference in situations between them all. It’s important to make sure you are providing the right sort of support for that individual.
It’s a good idea to increase the overall communication with your team, whether it’s a written message or video call. With person to person contact no longer allowed, keeping the conversation going is imperative. Maintaining communication within your organisation is an ideal way to let employees know you’re still there for them. Increase the amount of video calls you have. Even try and maintain one to one meetings as much as possible to ensure your team still feels supported during this time.
Keep Things Fun and Morale High
Having a laugh with fellow employees in between working is a huge part of office culture. Going up to other employees, laughing and joking and sharing stories from the weekend helps bond new workers into the team. It also works well in building and maintaining existing friendships. When we are all working remotely, this culture is difficult to maintain. That’s why introducing weekly games and quizzes is hugely important to your workers’ mental wellbeing during the pandemic. For some workers who are living alone during lockdown, video calls may be the only chance they get to see a friendly face and take their mind off loneliness.
You could get together a team of Coronavirus quiz masters who don’t mind organising a virtual get together for the wider team. This will give people a chance to chat about something other than Coronavirus and widen their support circle. Ideas could include weekly quizzes or virtual bingo. At Inc & Co we’ve even introduced ‘Question of the Day’ to get the team talking to each other about other topics.
Support For Furloughed workers
Supporting those that are furloughed is probably one of the trickiest tasks. Whilst these workers may be enjoying their time off, some may be suffering from boredom and anxiety. Those that are furloughed and living alone may be suffering the most. The sudden change from working everyday to being furloughed can be a big change for some people, which can be detrimental to their mental wellbeing.
Whilst asking workers to work during furlough is illegal, it doesn’t mean you have to stop contact with your furloughed workers completely. Give them the option if they wish to drop in to video calls with the team. Perhaps organise a weekly out of work catch up and give them the opportunity to join if they want to. The key here is giving furloughed workers the option to communicate with their team if they want to. Nothing should be expected of them but they should always know the opportunity is still there. Make them aware that their workforce is looking forward to them returning when their furlough is up.
Mental Health Awareness Week is bringing to light the impact that Coronavirus has on our mental wellbeing. There are so many factors to think about that it can all get on top of us. The workplace should always be there for employees if they need and this includes during the pandemic!