Many organisations have wellbeing strategies which use practical offerings such as ‘Fruit on Friday’, Mindfulness at lunchtime, subsidised gym passes, etc. There have always been limitations to the effectiveness of these types of isolated approaches to managing wellbeing, however, given the current situation with a significant proportion of people now working remotely, these types of initiatives have little impact.
If your wellbeing strategy was organised along these lines then it is time to start thinking again, Equally, if you have a more comprehensive wellbeing strategy in place, it is still time to start asking some salient questions such as: Is our wellbeing strategy fit for purpose now and, how well is it likely to work for the immediate and longer term future?
What Do We Know?
(Rauch & Zhang 2020)
- Adults in locations more affected by the virus experienced distress, lower physical and mental health, and reduced life satisfaction.
- Adults who had existing chronic health conditions were at increased risk of lowered mental and physical health during lockdown.
- Adults who had stopped working during lockdown were also at higher risk of harm to their mental and physical health.
- adults who stopped working reported worse mental and physical health conditions as well as distress,
- just one month of confinement can negatively impact physical and mental health.
- “Covid-19 … has had a serious impact on people living with a mental health issue often making their symptoms more heightened,” the group’s operations director Cassey Chambers said.
- “SADAG has (also) been receiving calls from people with no history of anxiety or depression who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.”
World Health Organisation (2020)
The main psychological impact to date is elevated rates of stress or anxiety. But as new measures and impacts are introduced – especially quarantine and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines or livelihoods – levels of loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behaviour are also expected to rise.
What Challenges Will Your Wellbeing Strategy Have to Meet?
Will your wellbeing strategy
- Support and develop managers to support staff with mental health conditions and high levels of stress?
- Provide sufficient support to staff who are currently well but anxious so that they maintain good mental health and higher levels or productivity?
- Enable managers to motivate remote workers/workers attending their workplace and help them gain perspective and look to the future?
- Advise managers on how to help new remote workers manage their work/life balance so that they don’t become overwhelmed and remain motivated?
- Enable managers to properly support bereaved staff and teams who have lost staff members to the virus?
- Help managers develop the higher level of interpersonal skills needed to facilitate virtual teams and create the sorts of trust levels necessary in order to have virtual conversations with staff about how they are really feeling and aspects of remote working/life /work life that they are not coping with.
- Create a sense of community and social support for virtual/non-virtual staff?
- Extend to keeping contact with furloughed staff to help maintain their motivation and engagement?
Will your wellbeing strategy
- Enable managers to quickly harness staff energies and motivate them to focus on ‘work as usual’?
- Have provision to support staff who will feel too frightened to use public transport once the lockdown ends and/or feel too frightened to work in close proximity with other staff?
- Help staff readjust to working at a location other than home?
- Once again, enable managers to properly support bereaved staff and teams who have lost staff members to the virus?
- Help staff who are to remain remote, develop sustainable good work/home life habits
- Help staff suffering from ‘Survival Syndrome’?
- Help returning workers furloughed or remote, attain a sense of community and purpose?
- Help rebuild trust. can help you ensure that your wellbeing strategy maintains productivity, engagement and wlbeing. Email or call me if you would like a no-obligations chat. I would love to hear from you.
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