The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unexpected and sudden changes in our daily lives, and it is important to support your employees’ health and wellbeing through this time. At the onset of the pandemic, notable differences between essential and non-essential workers were made. Non-essential staff made the shift to working from home while essential personnel continued going out to work in frontline roles. Offering support to your essential or non-essential staff can be done through keeping in regular contact as they make the switch to working from home or making online telehealth services accessible as they deal with the stressors that come along with working on the frontlines of the pandemic.

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of workers surveyed stated that they wished their employer did more to help them adjust to pandemic-related changes.

Adjusting to Working from Home

Implementing social distancing and isolation to control the spread of the virus has been a dramatic change to how we go about our daily lives. The switch to working from home has had an effect on people who are used to their daily routines of getting up and heading out to the office. While being able to wake up later and maybe not having to dress as formally as  you would for the office might sound great at first, after a while your team may feel lost without their routines.

In a study conducted by Thrive Global, over 80% of workers surveyed stated that they wished their employer did more to help them adjust to pandemic-related changes. 85% of employees also stated that they wish that their employers took greater action to address outbreak-related changes.

Employers should be encouraging their teams to stick to a routine similar to the one they held when they were going into the office. Working from home can lead to a decrease in your employees’ physical activity. Instead of the time it would take an employee to commute to the office, encourage doing some kind of exercise to start the morning, such as a walk/run or yoga session to ease into the day. It’s important to be active not only for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. Getting outdoors safely during lockdown is possible through social distancing and wearing a mask when required by local authorities. If it’s not easy or accessible for your employees to get outside, suggest getting up from their workstations every 30 minutes to stretch their legs.

Your staff may be balancing working from home, while also caring for family members or homeschooling at the same time. Acknowledging what your staff is going through in their home-life and being understanding of those individual challenges can help relieve some of the stress your employee may be experiencing. Discuss ways to set up a schedule or how to create a dedicated workspace within their homes, if possible, as a way to help create some normalcy in your teams’ situation.

As employees made the adjustment to working from home, the way people communicate also changed. Technology allows companies to easily be in contact with one another, whether through various video conferencing services or instant messaging platforms. It’s important to check in with employees throughout the day, the same way you would be conversing as if you were sitting across from each other or walking past each other in the hallway. Having a coffee morning during the week with different teams and suggesting to the individual teams that they have a social chat or happy hour is a good way for everyone to keep in touch and talking through issues they may be facing outside of work. This pandemic has seen people’s living arrangements and financial situations change, and it is important to make sure that your employees feel supported no matter what the issue is.

employee health and wellbeing

Essential Employees

Essential employees have been in the spotlight throughout the pandemic- from medical workers in hospitals and nursing homes to grocery store staff and delivery drivers. People are showing their appreciation for essential workers through signs and messages in their communities and highlighting their work on the news. But the challenges that essential workers have faced throughout the pandemic may differ from non-essential workers. Some essential employees are isolating from their households to limit exposure or are working long hours in incredibly difficult situations.

Employers should make a strong show of support of their worker’s health- both mental and physical. Throughout the developing pandemic, staff may not have had a moment to process what they are really experiencing- and that will catch up with them eventually and can cause employee burnout. UNC Chapel Hill has created a website for colleagues and providers that encourages self-care and lists contact information for relevant support agencies. Offering telehealth services to staff gives an easier, more accessible way to take advantage of mental health services through this unprecedented challenge.

Spending long hours on your feet while working can take its physical toll- along with stress or anxiety about the virus manifesting itself physically. Remind your team to take time to stop and stretch throughout their shift when they can. Eating, drinking and sleeping right can help your staff’s physical health. Discussing how to make pre-planned healthy meals, or if possible- providing healthy snacks and water throughout your team’s work day are ways to support your staff’s physical health during this time.

Both essential and non-essential employees have seen themselves in ever-changing circumstances from the onset of the pandemic. Employers should have a focus on their teams’ mental and physical wellbeing whether they are now working from home, or they are heading to work on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Provide support during COVID-19

GoMo Health solutions are used to communicate with patients but are also a great tool for fostering the health and wellbeing of your employees. See our full list of specialty areas and request more information about how GoMo Health is supporting communications for employee health and wellbeing.

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