Organizations need to help care for the professional and personal needs of their workforce during a time when everyone faces pressures.
Workplace health and wellness is important under the best of circumstances in order to care for employees and maintain thriving workplace culture. During a global pandemic, the need to help employees stay both mentally and physically safe and healthy becomes more urgent than ever. Here are ways organizations can foster the health of their workforce despite an uncertain environment.
Create best-practice safety protocols
The first step for any workforce returning is to establish best practices to maximize safety that minimizes COVID-19 spread. This includes partitioning spaces into zones, posting signage, designating places for eating and gathering at a distance, wearing protective gear, and more. A comprehensive list of best practices can be found here.
Help build resiliency
Research shows individual coaching increases resilience at work, so managers should check-in frequently for both work goals and personal health. RightCoach is another option that provides virtual, on-demand coaching, with 30- or 60-minute blocks that can address situational coaching needs. Remember that career conversations are essential to development, and that a sense of progress and forward momentum boosts satisfaction, motivation and a sense of resiliency.
Set healthy boundaries
Burnout is a real risk when a workforce is operating in continuous crisis mode. Leaders should work to set communication expectations by creating policies around after work and weekend emails, especially during remote work. Many employees feel compelled to respond, especially when it's an email from their boss. This might send the message that it’s OK to infringe on personal time. Setting boundaries will ensure that employees can truly unplug with peace of mind on vacation or on days off, and come back more energized when workers need it most.
Working amid a crisis requires a balance of structure, routine and flexibility. When in doubt with what a team needs, managers and leaders should make an effort to check in and have crucial conversations. Open communication is the key to maintaining the health, wellbeing and safety of a workforce during a new normal that challenges everyone.