We’ve put together this short piece as part of our larger guide on staff wellbeing (scroll down to the form at the bottom to download) in the New World of Work.
Here’s a new hierarchy to help you reprioritize how you support staff wellbeing:
Below, we’ve listed some practical ways to tackle this reprioritisation. If you want a full guide, see the bottom of this page for over 100 ideas and tactics.
End-to-End Health and Safety
Considerations for Health and Safety have changed, it’s no longer a matter of just thinking about OH&S in the usual terms. Because responsibility has now shifted to include work-exposure outside the workplace too. Staff wellbeing starts at home.
Instead of prioritising workflows for onboarding and succession planning experience, HR is focusing on physical practices. Like how to avoid bottlenecks coming into the office, including the best ways to use elevator entrances safely.
1. Workplace Physical Adjustments
HR teams in our community are making adjustments to the physical side of their workplace, including:
- Plans for public transport and work commutes
- Office spaces, layouts, sanitation policies
- Plans for workplace entrances, elevators, break rooms. Etc
These are to protect staff wellbeing wherever they are in their workday – home, commute, office, restrooms.
2. Testing and Reporting
Everybody reports on their symptoms every day before coming in. This will continue for some time to protect staff wellbeing. How do you do this?
- Create a return-to-work symptom survey
- Send it out to employees to fill-in before they come to work.
- Filter through completed surveys to screen employees before returning, report on the results.
2. Connection, Stress and Activity
For the HR teams we work with, once they have made a plan and prepared for the physical safety/health aspect of staff wellbeing, the next piece of the puzzle is psychological. The challenge with the current pandemic is not just disconnection, loneliness and the lack of human interaction, it’s also the reduction in personal activities/hobbies that are often stress outlets.
In this new working environment, we’re seeing a disjointed social experience. Workers are allowed to come back, but the conditions have changed. Hobbies have been put on hold. Socialising is now illegal in some places. Disconnection and inactivity is at an all time high.
This is contributing to restlessness, stress, boredom and loneliness. All of which take a dramatic toll on staff wellbeing.
How HR teams are fighting off the forces of Employee Stress:
Social-connection prioritised – making time for socialising. Encouraging social interaction before meetings to replace interaction that happens at the Workplace
More robust and frequent team check-in processes Once a week catch ups don’t work when you don’t see the team every day. Many teams are moving to daily, short meetings to replace the informal morning conversations that happen: “What are you working on today?”
Increased Non-Work Activity in the calendar Staff wellbeing can now be thought of in proportion to the volume of non-work activities HR encourages. For ideas, download the full guide.
We made an extensive list of action items, ideas and tips for this section. To get those, download the full guide here.
3. Burnout and Fatigue Management
In this new work environment, preventing staff burnout. IS supporting staff wellbeing. The reality is, many employees are now working much longer hours. The line between work and home has been blurred without the workplace. Even coming back to the workplace, this distinction may remain as employers choose to stay partially remote.
What should HR do? Here are two things our Community is doing:
- Protecting work-life balance and preventing working hours creep
- Asking managers to sit down and define hours with their team and then keep team members accountable to these work hours. For more, see the full guide.
- Cutting back on burnout-inducing activities
- Cutting back on Zoom meetings and offering alternatives (see our blog post with ideas here)
4. Proactive Mental Health Support
If there has been one key takeaway about this current pandemic about future conditions it’s this: HR can no longer afford to be reactive when it comes to staff wellbeing and mental health.
What this means for HR
Now, HR will be continuously taking the mental-health pulse of their organizations. Actively offering and enrolling employees in mental health programs. Encouraging all employees to take an active role in protecting their mental health. Staff wellbeing is no longer a once a year affair.
How to implement:
- Company wide mental health programs, days and exercises
- Give employees access to professional mental health resources on demand
- Proactively survey and gauge team wellbeing (see how we do this internally, the bottom of this page)
The new world of work means a new paradigm of wellbeing for HR. Employee stress, anxiety and loneliness has reached epidemic heights. Without the same usual outlets and normality to protect staff wellbeing, HR has an increased responsibility to their people. To be guardians of mental health and staff wellbeing at work. This requires a new approach, where HR prioritises:
End-to-end Health and Safety
Connection, Stress and Activity
Burnout and Fatigue Management
Proactive Mental Health Support
You’re probably thinking; “Wow, there is so much to think about and consider, where do I even start?”. And you may still be looking for ideas and nitty-gritty practical implementations. We’ve got you covered with two options. First, you can download our Moving Forwards Guide for Supporting Staff Wellbeing, with over 10 pages of ideas, tactics and implementable practices. The nitty-gritty tools you can use today.