The start of a New Year is often a time of reflection for many of us, and 2021 certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to things for us to digest and think about, does it? There’s no denying the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a seismic shift in almost every aspect of life – some for the better, some for the worse – and the workplace is no exception. Employee burn out, stress and anxiety are even more prevalent than ever before, leading to a decline in engagement and productivity as well as contributing to what has been dubbed ‘the great resignation’, which saw a staggering number of people quit their jobs to pursue more fulfilling endeavors.
There’s no way to know how much longer the pandemic’s ripples will continue to rock the proverbial boat for, but I think most of us will agree it’s fair to say the impact COVID-19 has had on employees’ mental health and wellbeing isn’t going to be magically reversed once the world finds its feet again; something needs to change, and it needs to change now if we want to avoid further damage to our businesses and retain our workforce.
That may sound like a daunting task to be undertaking at a time where people are craving stability rather than further change, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Some seemingly small changes can make immediate, wide-reaching differences when it comes to your workforce – not only will they improve the wellbeing of your employees and give both morale and productivity a big boost; they’ll also act as an attractive benefit for future employees, too.
So, what might those changes look like?
- Give Your Employees a Voice: when someone doesn’t feel seen or heard in the workplace, they often start to disengage, leading to a decline in productivity and morale that is not only harmful to their mental health, but can also cost your business dearly in the form of sick leave, employee churn, and more. By opening yourself up to feedback and providing a safe space for your employees to voice their concerns without fear of repercussions, you not only show your employees they matter; their feedback can help you identify recurring issues that you may otherwise have been unaware of, thus giving you the power to be able to rectify those problems going forward.
- Go Easy on the Tech: as the world around us seems to become more virtual, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking technology is the solution to most problems. There are many ‘one size fits all’ apps out there which promise to promote wellness and provide your employees with instant access to mental health support, but this isn’t always a good solution for everyone; for some, constant exposure to mobile devices and screens are actually part of the very problem you’re hoping to solve! Human interaction is usually much more effective when it comes to improving wellness and mental health, so try focusing on ways to promote ‘real life’ connections where possible rather than relying on tech if you can.
- Lead by Example: quite often in business, we focus too much on ‘lower level’ employees and how their performance impacts the bottom line and fail to consider how our leadership team impacts our employees. When a company’s ethics and core values aren’t reflected in the behaviour of that company’s leaders, employees feel disillusioned or can suffer moral injuries from being asked to act against their moral grain by their managers, which is why it’s vital to listen to employee feedback and check in with your management team to make sure they are consistent and ‘on message’ when it comes to your company’s values and take action if they’re not. People don’t leave companies they leave managers’
These examples are just some of the ways you can help your workforce thrive, but we hope they’ve given you some food for thought. If you want to know more about how improving your employees wellbeing can benefit your business, please get in touch with our team of experts here at Employees Health. We pride ourselves in supporting businesses support their employees and offer a wide range of solutions we can tailor to suit your needs, whether that be seminars, workshops, activities, or a bespoke Wellbeing at Work programme designed to help you and your workforce go from strength to strength.