Employers have an important role to play in protecting the health and well-being of employees. Additionally, happy and healthy employees are good for business.
When a workforce is feeling well, this will result in a positive and productive working environment, an attractive workplace culture, and a strong staff retention rate.
When employees are unhappy, the business suffers too. Poor mental well-being can lead to low morale, a reduction in productivity, increased absences and reduced retention.
The cost of neglecting workplace well-being
The economic impact of this year will have applied some pressure on sales targets. With many businesses seeking ways to cut costs, individual workloads run the risk of causing employee burnout.
Pre-coronavirus, sick days were said to be costing employers more than £100 a day in lost productivity. With new threats to worker well-being because of the crisis, and as temperatures drop, this figure may well increase.
The ongoing and increased risks to well-being
It is thought that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health will be long lasting. So it has never been more important to keep workplace health and well-being at the forefront of business operations.
The pandemic has created a need for employers to consider new well-being risk assessments, regardless of whether employees are continuing to attend the workplace or work from home.
Taking care of an employee’s mental well-being is still a priority when they are working from home. It can be harder to manage remotely, though.
Mental health awareness training can help managers to spot the signs of an employee in need of support, even from a distance; staying alert to the potential risks of remote working can help to save a person in distress.
Keeping in regular contact with employees and maintaining 121s is vital to monitor well-being and be able to offer support when needed.
Crucially, home is not a safe space for everyone. Domestic abuse helplines reported a surge in calls during the summer lockdown. Employees who feel unsafe working from home should be permitted to attend a COVID-secure workplace. We advise keeping a record of anyone doing so and speaking to these employees to find out the root of the problem. You may need to assist further.
Even if it is not as serious as a matter of safety, the home environment may not be conducive to productive working. Recognising the stress that this could cause and coming up with support measures will help the employee and the business.
In the workplace
As well as providing a COVID-secure workplace, employers are advised to keep in mind potential increased risks to worker well-being.
Rules on social distancing and mask wearing are still in place. With certain businesses legally allowed to open over the busy Christmas season, employees could be dealing with much bigger crowds to manage.
If this sounds like your workplace, make sure you are sufficiently staffed and that employees stick to their breaktimes to avoid burnout. They may also need reminding of your escalation process should they encounter a heated situation.
A fear of catching coronavirus or passing it on is still prevalent for many people. For staff who express worry about attending the workplace, be sure to listen to their concerns and reassure them of the precautionary steps you have taken. If the problem persists, contact us, as this can be a complicated HR matter.
Find time to have fun!
Mitigating risks to well-being is vital, but a pro-active approach that finds time for fun can also work wonders.
You may not be able to arrange your usual company Christmas celebrations this year, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy the festive season with your team in a safe way, and everyone wants a happy and healthy Christmas.
If you’re stuck for ideas, read our blog detailing six reasons why a virtual Christmas is a good idea.