Five Ways to Support and Motivate Your Employees During Lockdown

by Cristina Krenzer
home office

Representative Survey: Employee Mental Health Is More Important Than Ever 

The repercussions of COVID-19 on society have been tremendous and we’re all feeling them in various ways. People are experiencing stress and loneliness which is detrimental to wellbeing and productivity. 

Let’s take a look at the current impact on employees and how employers can support their team during this pandemic. So you won’t just help them survive – you’ll help them thrive. 

The Impact of Stress on Employees 

Urban Sports Club partnered with Forsa, the Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis, to study the impact of the pandemic’s effects on employees and what they need in terms of support from their employer. 

A total of 57% of employees surveyed have experienced  health problems or side effects from the pandemic. Specifically: 

  • 27% say they experienced stress-related health issues 
  • 23% experienced deteriorating mental health
  • 23% exercised less regularly
  • 18% experienced adverse effects on their physical health due to increased workloads 
  • 16% ate a less healthy and balanced diet 

Under the current circumstances, employers need to be aware that members of their team could be at risk for burnout, inertia or worse. That’s why it’s imperative to identify and address employees’ work-related and non-work-related stress and provide the tools and framework for success. 

Below are five ways you can support your employees during the pandemic.

1. Conduct Stress Risk Surveys

Although the crisis affects everyone, your employees might be experiencing different challenges based on their individual situation. Conduct a survey to find out the health status and needs of each team member,so you can better assess their wellbeing.

You can use a stress risk assessment tool to figure out how to reduce or eliminate sources of stress. 

These 6 areas are associated with poor health, increased sickness/absence rates, and lower productivity:

  1. Demands – this includes workload and the work environment
  2. Control – how much autonomy the person has over their workload
  3. Support – this includes encouragement and resources provided by the organisation, management and colleagues
  4. Change – how change (be it large or small) is communicated and managed within the organisation
  5. Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles
  6. Relationships – this includes promoting positive relationships to avoid conflict 

Having an effective framework in place to detect signs of stress and support employee mental health is critical. Read all about tackling work-related stress in this article: 8 COMPANIES TACKLING EMPLOYEE WELLBEING.

2. Support Employee Mental Health

Benenden Health’s most recent report highlighted that only 23.8% of employees said that their company engages regularly with them on issues of mental health. The same report revealed that only 8.8% of employees (less than 1 in 10) would tell their employers they were suffering with a mental health condition. 

If your company doesn’t have a mental health policy, you need to create one immediately. Having a policy in place is the first step to demonstrate it is perfectly okay to talk about these issues.  

It should be clear to employees that opening up about their mental health will not result in any stigma or discrimination, but rather support. Those experiencing poor mental health need to know they will not be labelled or defined by a diagnosis. Instead, focus on the impact it has on them at work and provide support to help them move forward in a healthy way.

Employers can provide a network of mental health support like access to a 24/7 helpline, mental health ambassadors and managers trained in mental health awareness. Make sure people know exactly where to go and who they should talk to internally about these issues. 

3. Drive Positive Health Outcomes  

Do you have systems in place to promote wellbeing and workforce resilience? This might include:

  • Training in stress management, relaxation techniques and positive psychology
  • Flexible working options
  • Reminders that counseling is available 
  • Encouragement to maintain contact with family, social groups and other support systems
  • Time set aside for activities promoting healthy behavior and exercise 

It’s easy to fall into unhealthy patterns, which in turn can make people feel even worse, so this is a crucial time for companies to be proactive and prioritize employee health.

According to the Urban Sports Club/Forsa study, the vast majority of those surveyed (86%) want their employer to place greater emphasis on health and support them financially in health-promoting measures. Nearly two-thirds (64%) believe they would be more likely to engage in exercise and wellbeing offers if their employer supported them in doing so. 

Urge employees to sustain (or if possible, enhance) normal levels of physical activity. Urban Sports Club offers live classes as well as socially-distanced outdoor sports activities, which help employees maintain routine and focus, and strengthen team spirit overall.    

4. Minimise Remote Burnout 

You can minimise burnout by creating official company guidelines for working remotely. Start by setting clear boundaries around working hours. Some employees may need reassurance and guidance in these areas. Make sure they are aware of their start and end times, and make breaks and lunch hours mandatory.

Make it clear that informal conversations on instant messenger and the like are encouraged. You can even create an internal channel just for this if you use a company messaging tool.

Schedule online video lunches, virtual coffee breaks and staff check-ins. Balance work meetings with time to decompress and have fun. Stay on top of your colleagues’ needs and continue to recognize their efforts. 

5. Focus on Growth and Development

This is a time to come together, be creative and actively look for growth opportunities. Here are 5 ways to stay organized as a team and promote development: 

  1. Establish updated goals and metrics that you can use to track progress.
  2. Consider ways that you can improve diversity and inclusivity in your internal work environment as well as outward-facing issues.
  3. Reflect as a team and ask questions such as: What’s not working for our team? How can we rectify it? What will drive growth even in uncertain times?
  4. “Spring clean” your email account, folders, drives, and other document storage.
  5. Organize professional development topics using free resources like webinars, books, digital articles, podcasts, TED Talks, etc.

Most importantly, talk to your team about areas where they currently want to grow

Your Employees’ Health 

People are feeling the strain. Thankfully, more and more organisations are taking a strategic approach to well-being, equipped with the knowledge that t a healthy body and mind lay the foundations for a positive work experience.
For more information on employee-focused fitness programs, get in touch HERE. Our hybrid corporate sports solution allows your team to take part in thousands of sports via live-streamor in person.

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