Life before COVID, some struggled to negotiate a work from home day or find a way to leave the chains of their desk. As long as employers were looking after their staff at work, it was easy.
Ever since COVID, employers and employees are trying to navigate a ‘new normal’ and employers are being faced with work health and safety concerns that reach far beyond the office.
As a clinical Psychologist, I see many people simply struggling to cope with this new world, or simply facing burnout. The new ‘working from home’ normal can be hard for our perfectionist driven society, where saying no can be seen as not being as hardworking. But what does that do to someone when you’re answering emails at 7pm while trying to navigate the bath and bed routine, or the second you roll out of bed signals the start of your work day as it’s only four steps to the ‘office’.
Skipping breaks, waking up early and working until all hours because they simply can, can do a lot to someone’s mental health and wellbeing.
Where does that leave you as a manager or a business owner? You need to be mindful of this, for a burnt out employee is far worse than someone who’s working less hours. Stress leave aside, productivity, culture and the general happiness of your staff is at risk.
So what can you do?
- Make sure you’re having individual conversations, one on one with your staff, rather than an all-staffer over a zoom meeting.
- Consider the individual needs, characteristics and life situations of your staff when working through the return to the office plan. Some may want to jump straight back in to five days, others may simply not have the capacity to do so yet.
- Understand your staff and their circumstances. For example, if your staff member has a chronic pain condition or has specific circumstances, take the time to ask what other flexibility they may need around their work.
- If your staff have young kids or parents they are caring for – check in with them to see how they are doing and if they need leave, or maybe just a break!
- Consider options for your staff to consider for a ‘return to work’ strategy.
- Don’t penalise honest conversations if your staff are finding it challenging to cope.
- Look out for warning signs – becoming cynical, mood swings, drinking more, etc
- Encourage them to take breaks, or an extra day off if you feel they might need it.
- Implement work time boundaries, ie no weekends, overtime, etc unless absolutely necessary.
- And, don’t forget to look after YOU too – you’ll be a much better boss for it.
We always remember the support we received during our tough times. Be the manager other people are dying to work with.
If you feel your staff could benefit from them, we have a range of Impulsivity courses available on self control, productivity, binge drinking and more. Corporate discounts and packages available.