Emerging from Lockdown: support your employees

As we emerge from lockdown and start facing our commutes back to the office, employers are finding themselves in a unique storm of survival, inclusion, pastoral care and brand value. 

Keeping businesses operational (and keeping cashflow healthy) and doing the best to support the wellbeing of every employee should be at the top of every employer’s agenda. Both are equally important – and after all, a business is only as successful as its workforce.

Business leaders are worried

There’s a looming second-order mental health crisis that is only beginning to emerge as a result of global quarantines and a massive, sudden shift to working from home. 

According to a global study of over 2,700 employees across more than 10 industries, since the outbreak of the pandemic:

  • 75% of people say they feel more socially isolated;
  • 67% of people report higher stress;
  • 57% are feeling greater anxiety;
  • and 53% say they feel more emotionally exhausted.

Unfortunately, nearly 40% of people say their company has not even asked them how they’re doing since the pandemic began.

Supporting your employees

And yet our surveys show that nearly three out five of people are “comfortable with their manager proactively asking them about their mental health.” 

Even more importantly, more than 40% of people said they want their manager to broach the subject. Managers should be opening the door to a conversation. It’s as simple as asking someone if they’re OK – and then let them walk through that door in the way that they are most comfortable.

It’s OK if they choose not to engage. But it’s incredibly important to throw that branch out to them.

Open the door to a conversation by asking if people are okay, and then let them walk through that door in the way they are most comfortable, accepting that around 40 percent of employees will choose not to engage.

When it comes to the pandemic, more than 90% of people said they wanted at least weekly communication from their company; 29% said they prefer daily communication. Employees who say their manager is not good at communicating are 23% more likely to experience mental health declines. 

Regular, consistent communication from managers is essential to ensuring people feel supported.

Re-orientation & re-introduction

For staff that need to return to the office / field It will be vital to have a re-orientation or re-induction process.

We fully encourage and support every manager to have a one to one return meetings with every employee, where a key focus is on health, safety and well-being. 

Managers need to have a sensitive and open discussion with every individual and discuss any adjustments and/or ongoing support they may need to facilitate an effective return to the workplace. 

Finally, it will be important for every employer to ensure that the organisation culture is inclusive, and that every employee feels they are returning to a supportive and caring environment. 

The pandemic has had an unequal impact across the workforce in many ways, as different groups of employees, and individuals, will have been affected in diverse ways according to their job role and individual circumstances. 

We strongly believe that it’s important that the organisation fosters an inclusive working environment, and managers are sensitive to any underlying tensions and confident about nipping potential conflict in the bud.

A reflection on the employees undergoing fertility treatment

All fertility clinics ceased providing treatment for until the beginning of June to protect the welfare of both staff and patients. 

You will have seen in countless news articles the impact that this has had on prospective patients running out of time to have a child:

  • “I just feel lost and sad, frustrated and angry”
  • “Going through infertility cuts to the very heart of how you see yourself as a person, how you see your place in society… it rocks your relationship, finances and friendships”
  • “I do worry if this goes on for longer that it will be too late for me. We have been trying for a baby for a long, long time, and the effect it’s having on my mental health, as well as my husband’s, is enormous at times. While you do try to keep positive, ultimately, I’ve sacrificed much of my 30s trying to achieve a pregnancy that just hasn’t happened.

Fertility treatment is a great example of the challenge that some employees face that employers may not be aware of – after all, very few people talk openly with their colleagues about their fertility journey. 

COVID-19 is a magnifying glass. It shines a light on cracks that already exist and can significantly impact wellbeing.

Engage with Fertifa

Employers should consider the gaps in their benefits portfolio and assess what is and isn’t suitable in the “New World of Working”. Look at the holistic value.

Do you have telehealth solutions and are you fully supporting your employee’s wellbeing – financially, mentally and physically? 

If not, we’d love to have a chat with you and help you support your employees. You can find out more here – https://www.fertifa.com/for-employers/

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