Mental health and wellbeing has never been so important than in today’s working environment. Whether your teams have been working remotely since last March, or have been attending socially distanced and vastly changed workplaces, the challenges are great and varied. Our people experts at Moore Kingston Smith HR Consultancy, have put together their top ten tips to help empower employers be more effective in their wellbeing activities.
1) Communicate with your staff. Establishing robust communication channels with employees is critical to understanding their concerns and avoids a one-size-fits-all approach. One-to-one meetings with line managers provide a platform for employees to voice concerns, and create a wellness action plan to support their needs. Group meetings are efficient but not all employees feel comfortable opening up in this environment.
2) Promote social connections. Employees should be encouraged to check in with their fellow colleagues regularly. Allowing time for employees to have more social breaks throughout the day provides essential interaction for those who are dealing with feelings of isolation.
3) Be honest and open. Being transparent about what you know and don’t know builds trust between you and your employees. Equally, sharing the priorities for the organisation and explaining the thought process behind decisions reduces employee anxiety. Employees want security, so if you’re planning any changes to the working structure, remuneration or benefits, being direct and giving as much notice as possible allows employees to plan for the future.
4) Remind staff about your support services. Employers with access to an employee assistance programme (EAP) or who have invested in trained mental health first aiders (MHFA) should promote these services so that employees can reach out for confidential counselling and support from trained individuals. Don’t forget that the EAP line is a great source of support for managers who need guidance if they are worried about an employee’s wellbeing.
5) Encourage positive and healthy habits. Although often easier said than done, encouraging employees to follow a healthy lifestyle proactively promotes positive physical and mental wellbeing. Whether you get together physically or virtually, organising activities that don’t always revolve around food and drink brings a healthy balance and encourages inclusivity.
6) Help your staff through stressful periods. In instances where a group of employees have experienced a traumatic event together, offering critical incident stress management workshops can help everyone process what they have been through via activities and group discussions.
7) Normalise boundaries. Some employees working from home have expressed that it is hard to switch off and have reported working longer hours. Reaffirming when you expect employees to be contactable, ways of working remotely and regularly checking in to discuss their workload encourages a positive work/life balance. It is also important that senior leaders act as role models and lead by example.
8) Be transparent with your expectations. Although implementing policies can feel corporate and formal, issuing remote working and wellbeing policies clearly communicates expectations and gives employees a sense of ownership and boundaries. These policies also empower employees to find the details of any support they require independently.
9) Commit to the appraisal process. With so much change, it is inevitable that plans and objectives at the start of the year need to be reassessed regularly. Holding appraisal meetings and setting reasonable objectives in light of the pandemic keeps employees motivated and aware of what they are working towards.
10) Create a workplace wellbeing hub. Creating a physical or virtual wellbeing hub that is regularly updated is a great way for employees to find the support they need. It allows employees to review resources at their own convenience and is a useful tool for line managers to help their employees find the right support.
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