Sodexo Engage reveals top tips for keeping employees stress-free during the ongoing crisis:-
As many of us continue to face an indeterminate amount of time working from home, employee engagement expert Sodexo Engage has put together five simple strategies that employers can action to help employees boost their mental wellbeing. The tips highlighted can help keep employees motivated, encourage greater collaboration amongst teams, and keep workforces productive according to the firm.
1. Keep talking
In these unique circumstances, we’re all experiencing a degree of isolation, even if we’re living with friends or family. Feelings of isolation combined with a national health crisis is a recipe for a dip in mental wellbeing, and so regular contact with those outside of our household is crucial.
It sounds simple, but even just a quick phone call with a colleague can go a long way in staving off anxiety. As such, encouraging managers to schedule time for regular catch ups with everyone they manage is a sensible way of ensuring all staff have consistent contact. Plus, communication is shown to be essential for employee engagement, so it really is a win-win.
2. Provide structure
Home working means it’s easy for the boundaries between work and time off to feel blurred. As a result, employees can easily find themselves slipping into the habit of working into the evening, leading to lack of productivity or even burnout. Structured plans which might ordinarily be viewed as micromanagement can be a godsend for employees who are struggling to stick to a routine. To prevent employees from being demotivated, regular, agreed deadlines and targets should be incorporated in any planning.
3. Be compassionate to negativity…
Negativity can often be a sign of anxiety or depression, so if an employee seems to have a more negative attitude than usual, managers should resist taking a disciplinary approach and instead use empathetic language where possible. It’s important to listen the employee’s concerns and share details of how similar issues have been resolved, as this can help staff see the bigger picture and feel as though their manager is solving the problem with them, rather than leaving them to cope alone.
4. …Whilst spreading positivity
With endless news on the current crisis now available at our fingertips 24/7, feelings of anxiety and hopelessness are not uncommon. So why not combat this by sharing positive news instead?
Encourage staff to think about the positive things that have happened during this time. From Captain Tom to Clap for Carers, there are lots of cheery bits of news to go around. Focusing on internal staff news is a great idea, too. For example, setting up a new Instagram page devoted to your company’s life in lockdown will allow employees to contribute their own ‘good news’. Whether it’s a new trick their dog has learnt, or the fact that they’ve just made cheese on toast without burning it, fostering a place and environment where they can share these small triumphs can help create a positive mindset.
5. Offer further support where needed
Needless to say, not all mental health issues can be solved in the workplace, but you can still show that you care by offering access to additional support. A dedicated Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can give employees access to professional mental health support in the form of accredited counsellors, who can be on hand over the phone or on virtual platforms like Zoom.
Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage, comments:
“Uncertainty and loneliness can create a perfect storm that damages mental wellbeing and makes motivation at work impossible to maintain. This isn’t something that business leaders can ignore. Providing the emotional support that employees need is the only way forward. Positive, reassuring contact from the top doesn’t cost a thing, and yet can provide significant benefits to employers and employees alike.”