In one way or another, the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked just about every workforce in every business in the world.
And while that disruption has forced many businesses to adapt, one consequence of all that change is the negative impact it has had on staff wellbeing.
It’s more important than ever for managers to stay connected to their teams (whether at home or in the office), and show leadership in promoting wellbeing.
That requires more than simply endorsing wellness programs. It requires genuine buy-in from mid-level managers and the senior leadership team. It’s these leaders who have the most influence over all aspects of their staff members’ workloads, performance, connectedness and, ultimately, wellbeing.
Here are some ways managers can promote staff wellbeing.
Talking about wellbeing doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In fact, it’s something actively avoided by some. One way for managers to help foster a culture of openness when it comes to wellbeing is by talking about it in relation to their own work and life. By openly communicating about challenges such as working from home, stress and other wellbeing issues, managers can encourage others to be more open about their own experiences.
By checking in regularly, managers can demonstrate to their staff that they genuinely care about their wellbeing. This is particularly important for staff working from home. Check ins should be authentic, and the best way to demonstrate that is to be responsive to what staff say, and take action. If a staff member says they are struggling to juggle family commitments, offer flexible solutions. If they are stressed, ask what you can do to help, and follow through.
Change is a major cause of stress. Sometimes change is unavoidable, but one way the impact of change on stress levels can be mitigated is by regularly and openly communicating with staff.
More communication is always better, and shows team members that their manager cares about the impact that change will have on them.
When staff are informed, and they know leaders are aware of the challenges, this immediately eases concerns.
It’s no secret that there is a correlation between physical health and mental health. Managers can encourage good physical health among their teams by ensuring that their staff aren’t overworking and maintaining balance. Team leaders can also do things like provide fruit bowls around the office, offering discount gym memberships, schedule walking meetings and offer standing desks.
Sometimes it is the little things that really count.
Staff emulate their managers, particularly in respect to work routines. If managers talk about wellbeing but overtly get in early, stay late and work weekends, their staff will feel pressure to do the same. Managers should let their staff know that they value work-life balance in their own lives, and should avoid setting work, making calls and sending emails to staff outside of normal working hours.
Talking face to face about wellbeing to a person in a position of power can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are products available that can track the wellbeing of staff and make that data available to managers, in a safe, secure and private way.
Lumin Wellbeing enables staff to log data about their wellbeing. Managers can then access and analyse the data, using it to better understand how their staff are doing, and how they can improve the wellbeing and performance of their teams.
Find out more at Lumin Wellbeing.