With the current climate being unpredictable and non-discriminating, it is important to give stability and reassurance to employees to help guide them through this period in time.
Isolated working and a reduction of social activity is almost guaranteed to be detrimental to the mental wellbeing of employees, the key is a healthy balance of work and fun.
The second national lockdown being announced within a single year is new ground for businesses and they now need to guide not only their business, but also their employees through this uncertain territory. One of the most prominent aspects is the sudden abandonment of once full and vibrant offices. A place some would go to escape for a multitude of reasons has now been forced to shut its doors for the time being, and some even permanently. People are now having to create their own “new normal” working environment and structure from their own four walls.
Businesses need to continue to make sure their team member’s mental wellbeing is being looked after just as much as the work they are now completing from home. Leaders should look to opt for a virtual MMM (Monday Morning Meeting) with all team members. This allows you to check in at the start of the week and ensure everyone has clarity of their focus and objectives for that week. It also allows for any issues to be raised at the beginning of the week rather than things falling behind. Alongside these meetings, be sure to have smaller department meetings, always with the camera on where possible; helping to increase the feeling of “face to face” interaction.
Virtual social interactions should become part of your team member’s weekly diary, where possible try including 3pm team building sessions each Friday as a whole team. This gives everyone the opportunity to socialise with different departments that they may not engage with throughout the week. Mindfulness and yoga one-hour sessions are also a great virtual group exercise to include in the calendar once a month to not only help to give employees a break from work, but also some hints and tips they can take away and use in their own time to cope with these often overwhelming times. Also strongly encourage time away from screens each day to avoid Zoom fatigue.
The small changes that have been implemented to help better wellbeing while working from home have had a positive reaction with our team. I recently shared an employee engagement survey with the team and the results were brilliant; 94.4% of the team members felt supported during these challenging times. Employees in fact felt so comfortable making the adjustment from office to home working, that the majority were happy to split office and home life in the future and the remainder didn’t want to go back to office at all.
We’re all in need of support and connection and we rely heavily on this during the colder months. With winter now quickly on the horizon and no clear end date to lockdown, keeping the momentum and building on these core virtual social activities is key to keeping morale and wellbeing high. Taking this into account, try to not let lockdown deter from your office Christmas fun. Encourage your team to get their trees up and mince pies out early and book a date in everyone’s diary for some virtual festive fun – it is so important to have something to look forward to! Unfortunately, nobody knows how long the current situation will last, but trying to alleviate the unnecessary pressures associated with working from home and incorporating alternatives to real-life social interaction at work, can make the world of difference to employees as we’re finding as 2020 draws to an end.
About the author
Kathryn Bell is COO at The Webinar Vet.
Founded in 2010 by vet Anthony Chadwick, The Webinar Vet is a pioneer of online education for veterinary professionals. Their mission is to help vets develop their skills in an easy and affordable way, providing webinars delivered by renowned speakers about a variety of topics.
Aside from veterinary lectures, they also provide webinars for people in management positions, and have taken up the cause of mental health by championing Mindfulness as a stress reduction method. To this end, they also provide courses on sleeping better, improving your mood, and developing meditative skills.
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