You don’t need us to tell you that it’s been a long year. The coronavirus pandemic has dominated our lives and 2020 has somehow defied the laws of physics and been at least 675,468,934 days long (at our last count). And we’re all absolutely exhausted…
For employers like you—this year has probably shaken up your business in ways you could have never imagined. Lockdowns and tier restrictions might have seen you temporarily close your business or changed how you operate altogether. This can be hard on your employees, too. They might have been put on furlough, started working from home, or had to adjust to a new COVID-secure workplace.
And while Christmas is normally a time of good cheer where we get a break from the busyness of work and life, we’re all looking at a very different Christmas 2020, with social distancing rules meaning lots of us won’t be travelling or seeing our nearest and dearest this year.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to support your staff’s wellbeing this festive season. Follow a few simple steps to make sure your people get a well-deserved breather over Christmas, so that you have a happy, healthy, and well-rested workforce for the New Year in January.
1. Encourage people to enjoy “the great outdoors”
If anything, 2020 has been the year of “the great indoors”. With the government’s ongoing message to stay at home as much as possible, we’ve all felt cooped up in our houses while we wait for the world to become a safer place to live, work and travel—but staying inside needs to be balanced with some time outside.
Are we fed up of going for walks? Yes! But like eating your vegetables, exercising outside has got to be done because it’s good for you. And it doesn’t need to be anything vigorous, just a stroll around the block can work wonders for our physical and mental wellbeing.
The Mental Health Foundation recently studied the ways people have been looking after their mental health during the pandemic, reporting that 59% of people said walking helped them cope with current uncertainty, and 50% of people said that visiting green spaces like parks was beneficial.
Just a lunchtime stroll can help boost your heart rate, get your daily dose of vitamin D, clear your head and pep up those energy levels—so encourage your people to get into the great outdoors each day if possible.
2. Sing your staff’s praises this year
Your people have worked hard through this challenging coronavirus climate, and recognising and rewarding their efforts and successes will help them to feel valued in their job roles and more motivated to keep up the good work—even if work isn’t quite ‘normal’ right now.
And we’re not talking about award ceremonies and red carpet treatment here—a small gesture can have a big impact. Why not send all of your staff Christmas cards this year to show your appreciation for their hard work? A simple thank you can go a long way.
3. Tis the season to slow down
Put simply, presenteeism is being present at work for longer than required—usually because the employee is worried about their job security.
And in the current climate, where businesses may close, redundancies are a reality, and people are placed on furlough, it’s not surprising that employees could feel scared about job instability. But your staff being overworked can lead to burnout—and that’s bad for both their mental health and your business.
It’s all about getting that elusive work-life balance right. And this can be harder to achieve when people are working at home. The line between work and home can get blurred when they’re the same place, with the temptation to skip a lunch break, open the laptop in the evening, or answer just one more email…
So, as the boss, one of the most effective ways to support your staff’s wellbeing is by monitoring your staff hours and breaks. Your people will be much more focused, productive and energetic if they’re well-rested.
4. “Look to the future now…”
When times are tough (and 2020 has definitely been that!), reminding ourselves that it won’t last forever can help keep our spirits up.
So take the opportunity to talk to your employees about the year ahead and make some positive plans for the future. This could be anything from starting to prepare for an exciting work project to discussing their personal and professional career development.
Talking to your staff also enables you to understand how they’re feeling in the current climate, and is a chance for you to show you’re willing to support them at work during this challenging time.
5. Invest in an EAP for 2021
While you’re a good employer, you can’t do it all. You can be supportive to your staff if they’re struggling with something, but you’re not a trained therapist. Plus, they might not really want to talk about their problems with The Boss anyway…
One of the best ways you can support your staff is by offering them an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) like Bright Wellbeing and Counselling. It gives staff access to a range of support services, such as our 24/7 helpline and online counselling sessions, so they can get confidential and compassionate advice at any time, day or night.
So if your staff need someone to talk to this festive season and beyond, you can point them in the direction of the professionals, and feel confident they’re getting the support they need.
To find out more about Bright Wellbeing and Counselling, speak to one of our friendly experts today. Phone now on 0800 783 2806.