There’s no doubt that many companies are still navigating a way back to normality or defining what the new normal may look like.
Many employees have felt the benefits of working from home. Being able to spend more time with family, using commuting time to work out or take up a new hobby, or simply catch up on much needed rest.
But the experience hasn’t been the same for everyone. Many employees who have been working from home, are experiencing posture problems due to poor working ergonomics as well as feeling of isolation and loneliness due to lack of social interaction, especially for those living on their own.
Following a survey by Mental Health UK, where they explored firsthand experiences of Burnout in the workplace, wherever the setting. 46% said they felt more prone to extreme levels of stress during the pandemic. This will also account for HR professionals trying to juggle the unknown waters of the past year, including COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Many employees said they felt their employees didn’t have a clear plan of action to prevent stress or burnout in the workplace. So, what can you do as an employer to ensure that your employees are looked after and feel comfortable when returning to the office?
- Make sure there is a clear plan – if possible, try to listen to your employees, ask them what their preferences would be and create a plan that will help prevent burnout and added stress. Taking into account flexible working hours, work from home days and extra benefits may all contribute to creating a plan that works for everyone. It’s important to remember that not everyone will feel comfortable with returning to the workplace and some may need to continue shielding.
- Make the safety of your employees a priority – COVID-19 testing will no doubt form a regular part of returning to the workplace and the process should be made very clear, in order to reduce stress for those involved.
- Line managers have a key role to play – upon on returning and transitioning back to the workplace, line managers should be available, and it should be communicated that their door is always open for those feeling under pressure, stressed or at risk of burnout.
- Consider how to end the Furlough scheme – although the Furlough scheme has been extended until September 2021, it is important for employers to consider how to transition away from the scheme. Some employees may have been furloughed for over a year now, so adapting to working again may be a stressful process for some. Some companies may not be in a position, financially, to bring everyone on board full time, so making a plan for reduced working hours or extended holiday may be worth considering.
- Make Mental Health a priority – all companies should have a Mental Health Policy and clear action plan when it comes to dealing with Employee’s Mental Health. The CIPD provide useful information if you are a small company that doesn’t have an HR team.
At Employees Health, we work with companies to audit their business and employee health. We look at various factors such as Physical Health, Mental Health and many other variables that can contribute to stress. We work with you to create a plan of action to reduce stress and burnout in the workshop and our multifaceted approach, means we don’t just look at one thing, we look at everything.
The return to work after COVID-19 is a complex process and needs to be treated carefully, taking into account what’s best for both employer and employee. If you want a free audit for your company, get in touch today.