The Covid-19 situation is an uncertain and frightening time for much of the country’s workforce. Legal firms must continue to preserve the mental and emotional health of their employees while they are working remotely. With the latest political updates advising that UK lockdown will continue for some time, this news will adversely affect some employees’ mental and emotional health. Employers have a duty of care to support the wellbeing of their staff. They will also benefit further down the line if they provide the right support now and nurture a healthy, happy and stress-free workforce.
Why might employees’ mental and emotional health be suffering?
They will likely experience extra pressures, such as having to balance childcare with work, financial worries, and not seeing their friends and family. Without the defined structure of the workplace, employees may overwork and possibly burnout. Not knowing exactly when lockdown will end might cause stress or anxiety to employees who are feeling in a state of limbo.
How can employers support their staff?
There are many ways in which employers can look after their staff during this period. While it may involve additional work at the moment, these precautions will pay off in the long run. Keeping your team well looked after will create a motivated workforce when normality resumes. Here’s a rundown of some top tips to keep in mind while your staff are working remotely:
- Check in on them: the lack of physical presence makes it difficult to identify the warning signs of burnout in employees. It is the responsibility of firms and managers to check in regularly with staff members, encouraging communication and conversation.
- Talk about mental and emotional health: if you don’t already have one, put in place a system that allows employees to express their feelings and concerns regarding mental wellbeing. Direct employees to services outside of work if appropriate, such as Mental Health UK.
- Have a robust IT set up in place to support remote workers: working from home will be new to many workers. Letting them know they are digitally supported will help them ease into the transition and continue to help them throughout the process.
- Virtual video meetings: allow you to stay in touch with your workforce and let you monitor people’s physical state and work set up. Irritability and insomnia can be indicators of burnout, and both are easier to identify via video than over the phone. There are plenty of video communication platforms, with Zoom seeing its daily users jump from 10 to 200 million over the past few months.
- Insist on proper breaks: encourage your employees to take breaks from the screen, as they would in a real workplace, and discourage out-of-hours logins.
- Encourage time off: over, and above ensuring your team take breaks during the workday, it is important to make sure you give employees proper time off. Encourage staff to take leave, even during lockdown. Not only will this improve morale, but it will also help businesses by ensuring staff don’t end up taking the same time off later in the year.
- Understand their kids may distract them: appreciate the added pressure put on employees from having kids around and let them know that you understand their situation.
- Acknowledge their uncertainties: with the current situation putting extreme pressure on businesses, it is natural for employees to be concerned about the future of their employment. Be open and honest with them about your business’ situation, keeping them updated on progress.
- Encourage new hobbies and skills: even with employees keeping to their usual working week, the prospect of weekends can seem less appealing because they are already spending so much time at home. Flag up ideas for new skills or hobbies to help employees have fun and stay mentally stimulated.
- Consider extra benefits: an issue facing many workers at the moment is the lack of a dedicated working space in their homes. Consider whether your company could afford to buy desks and chairs (or other resources) to help your employees create dedicated working spaces.
We can help you support your staff while they work from home. Get in touch today to find out about our IT support services can support your in-house IT team.