As we navigate our way through the ‘new normal’ of COVID19 realities, the pandemic has created a wave of uncertainty in the workplace.

Will my business survive? Will I still have a job? Do I have to take a pay cut? How long will I work from home? Will we ever go back to what we knew as a normal workplace?

This can take a toll on an individual’s mental health. Now is not the time to lose sight of your human side or your company’s values.

Supporting the wellbeing of employees in the workplace has been on the rise for years but COVID has taken this to a new level. Employers know that organisations perform better when their staff are healthy, motivated and focused.

When employees feel recognised and supported, they have a higher wellbeing level and thus perform better. This benefits the bottom line. It’s a simple win/win.

Question: What does ‘wellbeing’ mean to you and your team? 

There will be varied responses but, whatever the answer, make a point of creating a company culture that puts employees’ wellbeing and mental health on a pedestal.

Here are some of our suggestions on maintaining workplace wellbeing at the moment:

  • Provide transparent communication. Given there is so much uncertainty and the COVID crisis is constantly changing, it’s important for business leaders to provide staff with transparency and positive reassurance in real time. Strong communication is critical during uncertain times.
  • Encourage open communication. 1 to 1 meetings will encourage employees to share concerns about themselves, their colleagues and their families. It’s integral to ensure leaders are able to answer questions about the business and employee’s individual circumstances.
  • Praise and recognise. Encourage a culture where appreciation of day-to-day efforts are shared and celebrated. Always celebrate the wins – big and small.
  • Implement flexible schedules for employees. Providing more flexible working hours, virtual check-ins, a variety of spaces to work from and the right tech support will reduce stress for employees, especially when they are concerned for the wellbeing of those they care for.
  • Adopt health initiatives. Keeping your staff moving benefits physical health and helps reduce stress levels. Initiate ride to work days, walking meetings, lunch time surf breaks, zoom yoga classes, ergonomic workstations including stand up desks, healthy snack or meal supplies or simply taking 10 minutes to get outside for fresh air and some sunshine.
  • Offer external support. Sending regular reminders to staff with information and resources they can access is important. This may be financial advice or mental health support.

Most of all, as a leader or manager, be a good role model for self care strategies. Self care and wellness in the workplace starts at the top. Walk the walk. Employees are unlikely to prioritise their wellbeing and mental health if a leader is fostering a ‘burnout’ environment.

If you need someone talk to, call:

Lifeline on 13 11 14
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890