Workplace wellbeing in a crisis situation
We’re all working under extraordinary circumstances at the moment. Not only is the working environment and methods very different than only weeks ago, insecurity, uncertainty, and worry shadow the lives of most of us. Employers are facing a pressure to help their employees cope in the prevalent situation and help them not only to do their job but also to support them in carrying all of the mental and emotional burden. Workplace wellbeing will help us all get through the hard times. The only way to secure, maintain and improve it is communication.
Two-way communication improves workplace wellbeing
It’s essential for you to communicate to your employees as clearly and openly as possible about everything you can. You should also be forthcoming about all the things that aren’t yet clear or known, thus minimising fear and speculation that uncertainty undoubtedly generates. This way you create trust towards the employer and management and an open environment for discussion. Communication must obviously go both ways and therefore it’s necessary to find ways to listen to your employees remotely as well. You must listen to your employees very attentively and offer them help and support according to needs and resources.
The preconditions for communication vary according to how large and hierarchical the work community is, how communication is organised at the moment and how much previous experience there is of intracommunal, two-way communication. On the one hand, if there are efficient channels and functional practises already in place with an existing internal trust, communication will probably work well also in times of crisis. On the other hand, it might be challenging to start building a fluent, two-way communication during a crisis if there never has been an emphasis for it before and there’s a lack of necessary trust. Despite of that – and especially because of that – it’s absolutely necessary to start from somewhere: map out the needs and start building a bridge immediately.
Workplace wellbeing increases adaptability in a crisis
When you read about companies where employers force their (remote work capable) employees to work at the office but themselves go skiing or drop instructions from the office mail slot for the office-bound employees, your employer image is ruined for years. They’re also ruining the motivation of their workers, decreasing work efficiency and productivity, and also, undoubtedly, worsening the customer experience. A crisis situation will separate the wheat from the chaff among employers. Those that can swiftly adapt to the change in circumstances and practices will be better off.
Those employees whose wellbeing is a priority will more likely be capable of agile adaptation. By listening to your employees you’ll find how they can be supported in uncertainty and in consolidation of work and home life. There’s also a need to find out if the work tools and practices are suitable for the situation and if there’s a need for changes in which the employer can help. Private one-to-one conversations with an employee and their manager work well up to a point. But it’s also important to offer an anonymous way to give feedback and tell about their experiences with the help of a workplace wellbeing survey. This way you’ll get comprehensive data from each level of the organisation and not only increase understanding of the employee wellbeing and needs, but also can efficiently make general guidelines and operations across the board.
In a crisis situation, management needs support as well. They’re likely being demanded new skills to manage remote work and the ability to offer emotional and mental support to their staff, and their existing competence might not be up to the task. Also the managers of managers are of course required the same skills. The most reasonable thing to do is to measure employee experience across the organisation. It’s essential to offer the right kind of help and suitable training for all those in need so that workplace wellbeing can be increased in all the organisational levels.
Community creates workplace wellbeing
In a crisis it’s important to work together and offer a virtual shoulder to everyone in need. Even if you don’t feel like the crisis is affecting you, retaining a community even in remote work is important. Community creates fundamental wellbeing without which it’s difficult for a work community to hold together. Creating a digital community is an important but challenging task to which internal communication channels offer framework variably. For example, we at Roidu tackle this with a daily “2 o’clock coffee break” when we have a Slack call with all our colleagues and talk freely about anything but work.
There have been the most creative home office constructions posted in social media. The same creativity can be used to create a digital community. Be it a daily picture message thread of lunch (we do this at Roidu) or of home office (we do this as well). Or anything else that lightens the mood, involves community members and spreads good mood and positivity around. (You might justifiably wonder how we can get anything done with all this community action, but very well in fact: I feel like we are more enthusiastic than usual tackling ideas and assignments. And we’re also communicating about it more and better than ever before.)
We can help you start now
Now more than ever it’s important to start measuring workplace wellbeing and maintain and improve the wellbeing of the work community. We got our best brains together and created a ready-to-use and extensive remote work survey with which you can get a headstart. You can get it at a low solidarity price and its implementation is as easy as sending us a list of all the email addresses you want it send to. Thus you can concentrate on managing your staff based on real time results. Roidu software will send an automatic report to your email at regular intervals, for example weekly.
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