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As I have been working from home for three weeks now, I thought it would be useful to collect both our customers’ and my own recent experiences.

I am wary that as I write this, things may well change over the next few weeks (and even days). However, it has been particularly interesting to discuss with different people their own experiences and challenges, and that is why I wanted to share them with you too.

Duty of care

For this first blog, I would like to discuss the various ways that both Paydata and our customers have been looking after their employees over the past few weeks. First, we have a duty of care to our employees’ safety and health. For Paydata, offering secure and meaningful employment is enshrined in our values and that has meant ensuring they have the physical and mental tools to do their jobs. Whilst often IT will deliver on the physical tools, it is in HR’s brief to look after employees’ wellbeing.

Top tips for managing employee wellbeing

I understand that many of these top tips will relate more to some employee groups than others; particularly to office-based employees, who now find themselves working from home.

Many organisations will have employees spread over a wide range of areas and disciplines including healthcare and care workers, repair and maintenance/trades, distribution, retail employees, etc. This may mean differing approaches for different employee groups. In addition, it may not be possible to do much for some employees, as the focus is very much on getting the job done with little or no capacity available. Nevertheless, here are some tips:

“Buddy-up”

Encourage people to “buddy-up” with someone in their team, to look after one another and regularly check on their mental wellbeing.

Make regular contact with team members

Encourage line managers to have daily/regular contact with their teams – particularly via video calling (such as Skype, Microsoft Teams Meeting or Zoom).

Implement weekly department/company calls

And not necessarily work-based. At Paydata we have a weekly company call that starts with a quick company update, followed by largely an informal chat. This has helped keep everyone relaxed and positive, particularly when we ask for a weekly “theme” for the call – this week’s theme is to wear headgear!

Utilise group chat

Many organisations use specific messaging software to ask questions and share experiences and views. Examples include Yammer, Zoom chat, Skype, Discord or even WhatsApp groups. Instant messaging can be an efficient tool to ask a quick question, or share recommendations on which TV series to binge-watch!

Set a weekly steps challenge

Some organisations have asked people to record their weekly walking steps (whilst adhering to the government guidelines), which are placed in a league table. A novel and fun way of encouraging exercise in the team!

Promote access to Employee Assistance Programmes

Many employers already have these in place and now is a good time to communicate that these services are available to support stressed employees.

Offer financial advice

In the last recession, employers often arranged advice sessions to support employees who were concerned about their finances. Now is the perfect time to make these available, if they can be arranged remotely.

Utilise your intranet as a communication channel

Regular content and updates can be provided on the employers’ intranet to ensure a consistent message is maintained and information provided to reassure concerned employees.

Whilst many organisations are understandably focused on survival, it is important HR ensures employee wellbeing is taken care of in these difficult times.  I hope you have found this helpful.

Take care and best wishes,

Tim


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