We are all aware of the difficulties facing employers who are attempting to navigate their way through this ever-changing and unpredictable pandemic. Tempting as it may be to purely focus on the operational aspects of continuing to run their businesses, it cannot be underestimated how important it is for employers to support staff wellbeing as much as they possibly can.
So, what can, and should, employers be doing now to support their staff throughout this crisis?
The key step that any employer can take right now is to communicate effectively with its workforce. This will help to keep staff motivated, despite the personal challenges they may be facing, for the good of themselves and the business.
Examples of effective communication
• Book in regular and dedicated calls to catch up with staff, both individually and collectively as a team.
• Discuss work-related matters, as well as offering the opportunity to discuss personal matters individually.
• Offer the opportunity to explain any updates or changes being made to work practices, rules or policies.
• Encourage virtual social interaction between colleagues to help maintain communication and connection.
• Proactively encourage feedback from staff on their experience of the ‘new’ way of working.
Actively promote the taking of annual leave. This will not only provide staff with a well needed break, but it can also help employers by preventing an accumulation of annual leave that has not been taken at the end of the holiday year when business may have picked up.
If the business permits, employers could consider utilising the government’s extended furlough scheme (which is presently available until April 2021), either in full or on a flexible basis. This may be particularly useful for those employees who are continuing to work from home whilst their children’s schools are closed.
Whilst the complete picture of the future impact of this pandemic remains to be seen, the evidence that is emerging is stark. Staff from a wide range of businesses are struggling to meet the needs of their work and their family, whilst also coping with the ongoing uncertainty that a global pandemic presents. The ability for a business to recognise the support that is needed by staff, early on, is likely to go some way to distinguishing those businesses that will not only survive, but thrive, once this crisis is over.
If you would like to discuss any of the above issues or any other employment matter, please do not hesitate to contact Joseph Oates on email: email@example.com or Natasha Smith on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01892 515022.
This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.