Physical health and sickness policies
In an age where presenteeism used to see many employees struggle into the office, controlling the spread of Covid-19 with its multiple symptoms has been a key priority for employers to protect the physical wellbeing of staff. 33 per cent of employers have reviewed sickness policies due to Covid-19, suggesting that two thirds are happy with existing arrangements.
However, many reported sickness levels have decreased as the threshold for a sick day seems to have also reduced. Employees have been able to work from the comfort of their own home; although, there is the argument that this could also be attributable to the fear of redundancies that might follow due to the negative impact on the economy over the year. With gyms closed, traditional gym memberships and providing free fruit in the office are undermined as a benefit and organisations have to be innovative. Some have created firm-wide Strava groups to encourage physical activity and drive team connections, whilst others have made use of more creative benefits for those grappling with lockdown lethargy in the form of dog therapists who can provide guest dogs with lockdown lethargy in the form of dog therapists who can provide guest dogs for video conferences.
Focus on communications
During our HR Groups, employers reported that at the outset of lockdown, communications crises strategies kicked in. Communications came from senior executive teams to make everyone feel connected to the business if they were working remotely or to encourage those working on the front line. However, over the course of three lockdowns, some have reported that these have become much less frequent than they were. Top-down communications from the CEO and senior team were sent out once or twice a week on average at the beginning of the first lockdown, which went right down to once a month by Autumn 2020, as many people have adjusted to a new way of working.
However, the role that communication plays in bolstering wellbeing, particularly when it comes to remote working, cannot be underestimated. This ensures that people not only know the level of support available to them, but feel connected to their employer’s wider vision. This can drive their own feeling of purpose in their work and the role they have to play.
Transparency has gone a long way to alleviate anxiety throughout the international workforce of Lastminute.com who used technology to facilitate open communication and maintain dialogue as the pandemic unfolded and beyond. This has enabled it to strengthen its sense of ‘inclusion and connection’ throughout the business in its efforts to protect wellbeing.
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Employers are increasingly alert to the greater risk of burnout and stress faced by their employees as a result of the third lockdown. Wellbeing should be at the heart of the ‘new normal’ by taking into account how the individual defines their own values and priorities when it comes to their benefits and preferred ways of working. Call us today if we can help you to evaluate your approach to employee communications and how this can drive employee engagement.