How to Encourage Employee Wellbeing During an Outbreak

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have continued operations while abiding by public health and safety measures by adopting a remote work model. With almost every company, office, and recruitment agency in the Philippines, making the shift and mastering remote work and management, the focus is now on helping employees adjust to the ‘new normal.’

Employees may face a number of challenges with this new setup. They may have trouble focusing on work amid a public health crisis or struggle with the lack of boundaries between work and home life. This article will provide practical tips to help uplift employee well-being in the digital workplace.

1. Set clear working hours

The transition from having a set routine and physical office space to a less structured day and less formal workspace can be tough on your employees. Setting clear working hours can help them return some structure in their day-to-day routine.

Deciding on a specific timeframe for clocking in and clocking out can give your team the structure they need while allowing them to take advantage of the flexibility that remote work has to offer. 

For example, setting clock-in hours between 8 AM and 11 AM and clock-out hours between 4 PM and 7 PM enables employees to plan their daily routines accordingly, while rendering the necessary hours to complete their work.

2. Highlight the importance of taking breaks

In a traditional office setting, taking breaks is a necessary part of the workflow. It allows employees to clear their minds and relax, bringing a renewed focus when they return. 

With a remote work setup, breaks offer the same benefits and more. As people are spending more time in their homes to self-isolate, break time can be used for stretching and other physical movements. Ideally, your team should be taking a 10-minute break every hour or so to boost productivity and overall well-being.

3. Open channels of communication for disposition checks

In these uncertain times, stressors may be coming from every aspect of your employees’ lives. Financial concerns, living situations, additional household responsibilities, job security—these are just some of the things an employee may be dealing with. Now, more than ever, does your team need a source of support and compassion from within the company.

Disposition checks or “check-ins” are a valuable line of communication you can use to hear out any personal or work concerns and provide a safe space for employees to unload. 

From there, HR and management can work towards offering support to employees, as well as other actions they may need to refocus and recover from getting burned out. This can come in the form of mentorship, financial aid, adjusted workloads, and more.

4. Provide mental and physical exercise readings and resources

Mental and physical well-being are closely tied together. Poor physical health habits can take their toll on your team’s mental well-being and affect employee performance. Given this, the company should provide the necessary resources that can guide employees in achieving a healthier lifestyle.

Compile and disseminate a list of digital tools, such as health trackers and mental health support apps, to help your team stay on top of their well-being. Additionally, cooperating with your company’s HMO provider or other health experts to provide webinars or briefings can help elevate your team’s health practices.

5. Adjust your management and leadership style

The new normal should apply not only to the social and environmental conditions people live in but also to the outlook of productivity and performance in the workplace. Being able to approach each situation amidst this crisis with the appropriate tone and action can make all the difference in fostering a pleasant working environment.

By taking a more open and adaptive approach, your employees can be given the support they need the moment they need it. Leading and managing with transparency and compassion helps reinforce the trust between employees and the company, as well as boost morale and resilience.

6. Provide virtual team engagements

While your team is working from home and avoiding non-essential travel, they may be struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation. The best thing your company can do is recreate the social setting of the workplace through virtual team engagements.

Virtual quizzes, video calls, and team chats are just some of the ways you can utilize digital tools to provide employees with the means to maintain their connections with co-workers. Dedicating a time of the day or week to share their feelings or organize their own engagements can also go a long way in combating these challenges to your team’s mental health.

Boost Employee Well-being Today

As the world continues to make changes in the wake of a global pandemic, businesses also need to adapt at every level. By putting your employees’ mental well-being at the top of your priorities—through channels of communication, supportive action, resources for improvement, and an overall compassionate workplace—you and your team can weather the crisis and begin rebuilding together.

Ron Cullimore