Supporting your staff during Covid-19

People are working under conditions due to the new pandemic and social distancing guidelines. When we think of mental health and staff support, COVID must now be considered.

As a business, you have a duty of care to your workers and staff wellbeing. We all need to consider the workforce’s concerns and needs as they tackle working under new conditions and with new methodologies. 

Heightened stress and anxiety levels are likely being experienced, with people working from home and possibly also managing childcare. Businesses may need to make reasonable adjustments or offer time off for those who need to look after children or elderly relatives.

You should aim to deal with all matters sensitively and with empathy, appreciating the extra need for staff support during COVID.

Staff Mental Health & Wellbeing

The first step to managing staff mental health is to be approachable and adjust your management style. In addition to creating a COVID-secure workplace, you might want to look at implementing a wellness action plan and steps to support mental health and wellbeing.

You can encourage your managers to watch out for the signs of mental health problems, but don’t jump to conclusions. Symptoms of mental health problems include:

  • An increased absence due to sickness
  • A stressed, anxious, worried, tense, withdrawn, or tired employee
  • Employees arriving late for work
  • Behavioural changes, including changes to their mood or the way they interact with others
  • A loss of interest in work tasks the worker used to enjoy

A few of the things that can compound mental health problems include staff not taking breaks, working long shifts, having unmanageable workloads and unrealistic targets, and poor communication.

It is vital that businesses step up their staff support during COVID. However, we need to appreciate that it is harder to notice these signs when employees work from home. It is crucial to create an environment where workers feel comfortable talking about how they feel, and you should be open and honest and encourage them to be the same.

Staff support, COVID-related stress, and mental health can be topics you find hard to navigate, and you may find it difficult to talk about these issues. If you believe one of your worker’s wellbeing is at risk, you should offer staff support promptly, in light of the COVID pandemic:

  • Talk to employees as soon as possible but be flexible in where and when
  • Talk to them in private and reassure them that conversations are confidential
  • Listen carefully
  • Be positive, supportive, calm, and reassuring
  • Consider how you can help and make sure all workers know where they can find support resources
  • Take time to make decisions
Business Impact

The business impact of providing extra staff support during COVID may require you to adjust your business goals and targets. It can be beneficial to redefine your priorities at this time and look into finding new ways to motivate staff.

Your staff support and COVID wellbeing action plan could include rotating staff between high-stress and low-stress roles and implementing flexible working arrangements.

If you have furloughed staff or have staff working from home, it helps to confirm how frequently you will contact them. You may need to agree to communicate over different technologies, such as video chat, telephone, text, or email.

In conjunction with increasing the frequency that you check in with your team to find out how they are managing, remember to:

  • Ask how they feel
  • Check they have the right set up for working at home
  • Ask if they need support to complete their duties
  • Answer questions and ensure your staff support includes answering COVID safety concerns

Other practical help

Now is a great time to consider how you can practically support the wellbeing of your workforce.

PC Employee Care is a new service which allows SME owners to offer wellbeing support to their employees with a range of employee wellbeing packages available .  The unique online portal provides a wealth of information and resources designed to help and support employees with challenges which they may face on their life’s journey.

The portal has been designed to provide support around the four pillars of wellbeing:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Financial
  • Social

The resources available cover a myriad of topics, from stress and anxiety, nutrition, personal development, bereavement and child development.  Employees can login and download factsheets, watch videos, read blogs, listen to podcasts and find verified suppliers of support services, many discounted.  The site is regularly updated, and the self-service nature means users are able to find the help they need quickly when then need it.  This will help to keep them happy at home and productive in the workplace.

The PC Employee Care website gives a comprehensive overview of the service and how it can benefit your business.  If you’d like to talk to a member of the team call 020 3857 7839 or email info@pcemployeecare.co.uk.


PC Employee Care helps businesses thrive by supporting employee wellbeing.

Our online portal features content from verified experts from psychologists, to counsellors; family care consultants to will writers and covers all areas of wellbeing.

See www.pcemployeecare.co.uk  or call  020 3857 9839 or drop us an email on info@pcemployeecare.co.uk

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