There seems to be no end to this relentless global pandemic and with winter fast approaching, it is important for SMEs to support their staff whilst they work from home. With smaller teams more often than not benefitting from close knit relationships, working from home has made many SMEs reconsider their approach to workplace wellbeing.
I really enjoyed reading an article from Global Banking & Finance Review from this week that discussed how SMEs can support the five pillars of workplace wellbeing.
They discuss the five pillars of workplace wellbeing and how each one can be implemented within a remote working environment. Here's what I have summarised:
1. Mental & Emotional Wellbeing
Working from home, for many, has been heralded as a success but many have found themselves struggling to juggle the responsibilities of work and their personal lives. Therefore, open communication is key to supporting positive mental health. It is not as easy to communicate when working from home, so leaders must take the time to schedule regular one to one phone calls to discuss more than just work. Take the time to discuss non work related issues and allow your team to open up about their emotions and how they're feeling.
2. Social Wellbeing
If there is one thing the pandemic has proven, it is that we definitely need and value social interaction more than we may think. With many working from home, the small breaks to grab a coffee or to have lunch with colleagues have gone. It's therefore important to find new ways for employee's to still have an element of socialisation. A simple coffee break during the day for 15 minutes or a team quiz allows the team to socialise during work hours.
3. Financial Wellbeing
For many, financial wellbeing has taken a hit as a result of the pandemic, with pay cuts, furloughing and reduced hours weighing heavily on many employees wellbeing. Improving financial wellbeing removes the stigma of talking about money and relieve stress. With Christmas coming up, many employers can offer schemes such as employee discounts, gift cards, vouchers considering there will be no Christmas party this year!
4. Physical Wellbeing
Being physically well means exercising regularly, eating right and getting enough quality sleep. The pandemic has certainly taken its toll on many people's physical wellbeing, with research from the Institute for Employment Studies finding that 60% of employees surveyed were exercising less while a third said they were eating less healthily. To help with this, employers can introduce healthcare schemes that encourage their team to get out and exercise more. Adding a little competitive edge to things can add some socialisation, as well as encouraging people to get out more often, even if it is just for a 15 minute walk.
5. Digital Wellbeing
Research from Onecom found that 83% of SME workers claim that the time they spend on their phone and using technology has increased since lockdown. A major reason for this is the lines between professional and personal lives have become a little more blurred, which can make it harder for people to have a clear start and end to their days. Employers must make sure that they're communicating and establishing clear rules of working from home, although it is also just as important to emphasise the ability to have increased flexibility which means if someone needs to go for a half an hour walk or go to the gym, it should not be frowned upon and staff should not feel nervous about not working.
With many people still working from home, we’re facing a challenging winter that will take its toll on staff wellbeing. Employers need to engage with all five pillars of workplace wellbeing to boost employee engagement, motivation, and productivity, all of which will be vital through the coming months.