Ways to Promote Workplace Wellness Following COVID-19
Attempting to adjust to a new normal is something that all Australian workplaces will have to work through in the months ahead when it comes to COVID-19. In order to maintain wellness at work, your office will need to utilise several new strategies when returning to work. These strategies are designed to encourage positive mental health awareness and stress generated from this unusual situation.
If anything, following the COVID-19 pandemic, you should recognise the need to give your employees a voice in the months ahead. Encouraging their voice and opinion on projects and operations gives them a sense of normalcy and the idea of being essential. With so many unemployed during the hardest hit months of the pandemic, having that sense of need and importance will stimulate positive mental health. Your employees mental wellness may not have been at the levels before coronavirus hit and caused all the furloughs and layoffs, but this inclusion can safely work to rectify the situation.
In terms of inclusion, make feedback from your staff members welcome among your superiors and administration. Providing a safe outlet for employees to air their suggestions or thoughts on current practices is healthy for everyone in the workplace attempting to navigate this new normal.
Returning to work under a new normal means that new regulations and conditions will come in the workplace thanks to COVID-19. For staff returning to work or who have been working through the pandemic, having an appreciation of their personal well-being will boost their mental health and well-being. Make accommodations for those who may be more susceptible to the virus, or live with loved ones with a compromised immune system.
Go above and beyond to offer your staff members a healthy and sanitised work environment so that they can comfortably come into work and complete their tasks to the best of their abilities. Everything from personal hand sanitisers and cleaning wipes to spacing out work areas are things that you can do to give them that added support for their well-being. Any operations that can be moved to a virtual format should be done so right away to reduce any direct contact your staff has with other employees and customers.
Offer Staff Representation
Every company and business returning to work in the midst of COVID-19 has already generated or will generate a form of wellness or pandemic committee. These individuals will be responsible for staying ahead of the news and trends with the pandemic. In order to maintain the well-being of your staff, it is critical to have them represented equally on this committee. This is especially important for those who may not have been a part of the company in the past few weeks and are looking to gain some type of voice.
Reducing Tension In The Workplace
Cleaning the office and employee work areas will not be enough to maintain wellness. The environment that they are working in must also not be toxic socially. Because employees are having different reactions and opinions regarding COVID-19, a sense of bullying and workplace hostility can start to generate when it is not properly moderated.
Keep in mind for most of your staff members, they have not had the normal social interaction with others that they were formally used to. In some extreme cases, that frustration that has built from weeks or months could pour over in a conflict between one or more employees. It is important to offer an environment that will not allow toxic or unwanted behaviour now more than before.
Encourage Breaks And Interaction
While following social distancing regulations, encourage your employees to take their lunch breaks and any additional breaks they are entitled to throughout their shift. In some cases, many staff members may feel the need to skip these breaks in order to catch up with their work that has backlogged in their absence. If they start a habit of not taking their appropriate breaks throughout their shift, their stress and mental well-being will start to decline from being overworked.
When you provide and encourage these breaks for your employees, make sure that they have a space that meets social distancing requirements and is also sanitary for their use. Many employees take this time to reset themselves for the rest of the workday, so an adequate environment for this is just as important as a safe and healthy place to work.
Allow an opportunity for chatting and small talk among your employees. Gathering a few minutes throughout the day to interact with each other via social distancing practices will give them the opportunity to reset and minimise stress. This interaction is also good for their mental health wellness as they interact with others and make adjustments returning to a sense of normal in the office.
Make Resources Available
During this time, your staff members may need to reach out to someone beyond the office or home with assistance. In order to fully offer an environment that supports health and wellness in the workplace, you should consider offering some form of counselling for your staff. Having that additional outlet to discuss feelings and stress that they may be experiencing regularly and shows that you do care about their overall well-being.
Promote workplace wellness with the use of guest speakers who can come in and motivate your staff whose morale may be lower than it was prior to the COVID-19. These speakers have the ability to empower your staff members and get them excited about their job again.
Promoting Workplace Wellness
Whether you take advantage of one or all of these strategies, evaluating the environment of your current workspace from a physical and mental health standpoint is something that you should consider right away. The fact remains that COVID-19 will be a part of the Australian community for the months to come. At Nationwide Super, we want our small business clients to know that we have your back, and we will support you through this pandemic. If you would like more information on getting connected with us, we are happy to assist you.
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