Helping Your Employees Work from Home This Winter
For many, working from home has been a welcome change, helping to redress the work/life balance and eliminating long commutes and rigid working hours. However, there are downsides. The shutting of offices may cause employees to feel disconnected while the lack of a definite cut-off point may cause work to bleed into leisure time.
Winter tends to exacerbate these issues as the weather worsens and daylight hours shorten. However, there are a few things employers can do to help make ensure worker’s wellbeing during this extraordinary period.
Less or no time spent in the office means that employers can no longer gauge the mood pervading the company through physically interacting with their workforce. Employees can hide or get lost behind computer screens and employers may not notice that they are struggling until there is a noticeable drop off in that person’s work or the employee explicitly tells someone they need help.
Scheduling regular catchups via Zoom or other video calling software that allow employees to check in, voice grievances, make suggestions or simply chat make them feel considered and taken care of in the absence of a physical workplace. It creates a safe space and may catch the beginnings of a problem before it develops and becomes more serious.
Implement digital socialising
Gone are the classic after work drinks (at least for the moment), but that doesn’t mean the social aspect of office life has to disappear entirely. Depending on the size of your business, company or team-wide activities on a Friday afternoon via Zoom can revive a little bit of the camaraderie of the office.
By the nature of video calling, these can sometimes be a little awkward, so try to plan games or quizzes in advance to get the fun started. Organising digital seminars and hosting discussions afterwards can also be a great way to boost morale and provide an opportunity to learn. So much of job satisfaction comes from the people we work with, so don’t let the human aspect fall by the wayside.
Offer mental health resources
In 2020, an employer’s responsibility to their staff extends beyond fair pay and other basic compensation – it now includes creating an environment of safety, fairness and openness. This year, UK mental health charity Mind did a survey* of over 16,500 people, and 60% of adults and more than two-thirds (68%) of young people said their mental health had got worse during lockdown, meaning this kind of care is more important than ever.
There are many ways to foster a positive workplace, but a key aspect is giving employees access to third party help. What you can supply may depend on the size of your company and your financial scope – bigger businesses can provide health insurance to pay for private services, whereas smaller employers may consider investing in something like Perkbox*, which has a 24/7 emotional support platform. Whatever is within budget, the mental wellbeing of employees is worth the investment, especially while the face-to-face element of the workplace remains absent.
This one is simple, but often overlooked. Employers should make a point to recognise good work or outstanding contributions in all areas of the company. Shout outs in staff meetings, rewards at the end of the year, gifts sent to homes. However an employer wishes to do it, showing appreciation is incredibly easy and can make all the difference.
If you want to know more about how your personal finances could be affected or talk to a financial adviser about your options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch over email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01992500261. Our offices will close for the Christmas period on Thursday 24 December and will re-open on Monday 4 January.
This article is for information only and must not be considered as financial advice. We always recommend that you seek independent financial advice before making any financial decisions. Investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested.
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gpfm are an independent financial planning company dedicated to the provision of personal, professional, and objective-driven advice for our clients. We have been awarded the Chartered Financial Planners title by the Chartered Insurance Institute for offering high quality, independent and informed advice that meets the needs of our clients.