What can employers do to lift team spirits and combat potential isolation in winter?

Rina Pandya, Head of People - Corporate Services, wrote for Employee Benefits about wellbeing at work during the pandemic.

The original article was published in Employee Benefits. You can find it here.

At the beginning of this year, we could never have imagined how different our way of working would become. Many employees have had to adapt to remote working, with the workplace reinventing itself in home offices and around dining tables. This transition has been challenging, however, as the year draws to a close, it is safe to say that we are entering 2021 knowing that remote working is here to stay for a while.

When lockdown restrictions were initially imposed, we quickly adopted a remote-working policy. This ensured the safety of our employees, but we knew that this was not enough. We wanted to also ensure the wellbeing of our staff. As such, we have implemented a new health and wellbeing programme set to ensure workplace wellness, mental health and physical health for all of our employees.

The programme was designed with input from staff to make sure it was accessible and true to their needs. Wellbeing webinars focused on topics that aligned with widespread problems facing employees in the UK; spanning everything from how to avoid burnout and handling your workload while home-schooling, to managing anxiety. Our employees have found these sessions extremely useful, helping them to cope during lockdown. It is important to understand what employees need from their organisations, which can be done by simply asking them.

An important consideration when lifting team spirits is ensuring that no one feels left out. With 80% of our employees working on the front-line, we understand the importance of this. For example, we know our front-line employees are unable to join webinars during the working day, but many read our magazine, so we adapted the content for this channel as well.

Discussions around mental health have risen tenfold, both within the news and our organisation. If I had one recommendation for employers on supporting employee wellbeing this winter, it is to keep these conversations going. It is important that everyone is given time to rest and recuperate; nothing is more important than employee health. To help with this, we have created toolkits on how to manage working days and podcasts that can be listened to on the go, at a desk or while cleaning a hospital.

Our programme aims to help our employees get into healthier habits, achieve work-life balance and culturally be an organisation which supports each other. Whether it be through internal communication platforms, webinars, personal catch-ups, or simply providing staff with time to relax. Making sure that employers are genuinely providing staff with what they need to be as supported and healthy as possible is imperative to a good workforce.