While employees may have been fretting about finances during the lockdown, you can be sure that their anxiety won’t have dissipated now that they’re back at work. If anything, it’s probably ramped up several notches, now that infection rates are climbing and they’re facing greater exposure than when they were staying at home. There’s also the stress and, often, depression that’s becoming a common feature for many of us as we consider a way of life that seems lost, for now at least, and concern about the health and wellbeing of our loved ones.
As an employer, it’s critical that you help your staff members process these emotions – this is, after all, the mark of a good workplace, but also has significant implications for productivity. Here’s what you can do:
- Get the basics right: It may seem simple, but employees will feel far more secure if they know that you’re doing your utmost to look after their wellbeing. Implementing the recommendations and regulations of the WHO and our own National COVID Command Council will go a long way in this regard – so make sure your workshops have been configured to allow for appropriate social distancing, You have set up the correct sanitisation stations and all the necessary PPE to keep both your staff and your customers safe.
- Keep on communicating: We’ve been told to limit the amount of news and social media we digest but, on the other hand, being unsure of what’s happening out there can be equally disturbing. Make sure that employees are up to date with any new developments, such as the launch of our first vaccine trials. This is also important because it can stop the spread of disinformation or misinformation, which inevitably causes panic. RMI have been amazing in keeping most of us abreast of new developments in this regard.
- Remind employees of the importance of self-care. This really comes down to the fundamentals of looking after yourself: getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods.
- Be flexible. Obviously, you can’t afford to let standards slip – but it’s also important to remember that each one of us finds ourselves in exceptional circumstances that nothing could have prepared us for. It’s inevitable that people will bring their emotions into the workplace, and this may have an impact on productivity or morale. Be supportive as far as you can.