For many businesses, remote working has been a way of life since March – with no signs of any changes until next year. With a national lockdown in England, and local lockdowns across Scotland, many businesses have taken the decision that working from home remains the safest and most cost-effective decision.
But how does that impact our working life? On the HRC blog, we have written about mental health and wellbeing, furlough and new phrases like “Zoom fatigue”. It’s been a very precarious balance to strike. People are worried about the pandemic, redundancies and work / life balance … All whilst still trying to perform at their best.
Compared the fun and chatter of the office, working from home can feel very isolating for some employees. Others have struggled to readjust to work after furlough. Many are still furloughed and are in fear for their jobs.
So, how can HR teams help prevent anxiety and burnout whilst maintaining something of the office culture? Take a look at our advice:
Communicate clearly and often
Right now, employees only want to know one of a few things: When will we be back in the office? Could I still be put on furlough? Is my job secure? So, there is no sense in bombarding them with emails or updates that don’t contain any of this information. Similarly, when you are providing updates, think carefully about how these are worded. And, if you do have to make tough decisions, a phone call or video call is always more appropriate than an email.
Ensure work spaces are safe and sanitary
If you are open “as normal”, ensure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them – where they are to wear a mask; where they are to sanitise; where they are to eat lunch. Not only does this minimise risk for you as a business, but it helps alleviate any stresses and worries employees might have about being in work.
Consider wellbeing options
Have you thought about access to a wellbeing coach or mental health app? (At HRC, we have partnered with Everymind at Work to support our colleagues.) Many people are struggling but are unsure who to speak to or don’t feel comfortable discussing their mental health at work – so give them access to an impartial third party in order to relieve the pressure.
Re-think perks and benefits
If your teams aren’t in the office right now, is a travel pass still a relevant perk? With local lockdowns in place, is a team lunch still appropriate to offer? Perhaps items such as online shopping or takeaway vouchers could be considered instead. Or even access to an online workout since so many are missing the gym. There are lots of alternative options to the usual array of company perks.
Try to minimise remote burnout
Just because our laptops and mobiles are now in our homes doesn’t mean we should feel pressure to be tied to them 24/7. Ensure that you stick to normal working hours, as much as possible, when it comes to communication. The last thing you want is for your teams to feel burned out. Encourage your teams to take lunch breaks and be able to switch off as normal. The lines are so blurred right now that “down time” is even more crucial.
If you would like to speak to me, confidentially, about current opportunities across the Scottish market, I would be delighted to help you take the next step in your career at a tremendously busy time for HR professionals.
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