Impacts of Change - By Charlotte Santiago
Updated: May 13, 2020
No matter which Alert Level we are in.. Covid19 has seen many changes to the way we work!
Social and Physical distancing is new
This new distancing can have harmful consequences to the mental health of Workers. How can employers help workers to adapt to these very real changes to the way they work?
An unknown and an unseen virus carried by people is new
Extraordinary situations require extraordinary reactions, but also human. Employers must treat their workers first and foremost as people. Employers can encourage workers to use online forms or talk about socialisation at work during Covid-19 to promote safety and avoid fears around social interactions among workers.
Isolation is new
It is important to remind workers that it is essential to interact virtually with friends and family by organising online meetings at home after a long day at work to bring humour and positivity at this uncertain and unprecedented time. It is essential to feel linked with others at present. This feeling will contribute to protect mental health and ease for the employees.
How do you help your workers with change?
As an employer you need to accept that it is not always possible to work as if ‘’nothing is happening’’ and that you may have to make some short-term decisions to assure the consistency and success of the company instead of only looking after the long-term success of workers.
You can make sure that your admin team has the necessary tools to communicate with workers and the power to make changes to the way they work. For example changing the hours of employment or the modifying shifts.
You can actively promote well-being by reminding workers that it is important to keep good physical hygiene, exercise, take walks if possible, eat healthily and practice mindful activities like yoga or meditation.
1. Be prepared!
Have a plan. Inform workers of what you think and act upstream, that you remain well-informed and that you can answer their questions, such as: what to do if I get ill? and what about my job would I lose it? What to do if a member of my family gets the virus? Create FAQ's to share with your workers regularly.
2. Communication is key!
Workers concerns can be avoided if you have the latest up to date information. Point out to your workers that they can expect regular updates from you, communicate even if the situation remains unchanged.
3. Get on/ relate well
Mention that you know that this situation is stressful. Underline that it is normal to be anxious. Remind your employees of the resources (EAP) which are at their disposition to face up this stress.
Stress can lead to anxiety and even panic. Some workers may need days off work to deal with this situation. Encourage workers to do activities to relax and take care of themselves at work. Reassure them that it is ok and beneficial to take such steps to manage this stress, such as doing relaxation exercises, listening to relaxing music, or taking regular breaks.
Affirm that these are exceptional measures. Be aware that the situation is likely to have an effect on work, such as a slowdown in activities and large cancelled trips. Inform staff that expectations will change accordingly, and this is normal. We will do it all together!