Kathy Collins  |  Wellbeing, Advice

Employee Wellbeing - how to look after your colleagues and yourself during the pandemic

This morning, I took some time to watch a webinar being hosted by Barclays Bank and Selesti. The topic was Employee Wellbeing.

I am lucky that I work for an organisation, Onebyte, that is really forward thinking and was prepared for homeworking. We shifted to homeworking from having a local office last September before the pandemic started! It has been a struggle for me - I like to have people around me, part of the joy of work for me is to interact with my colleagues and enrichen those relationships until we become friends. Don't get me wrong I haven't lost my friendships, but they do have to be worked at harder when you are all remote working. I had set up a raft of outside of work things to do to ensure I had the humanising and emotional part of my character satisfied. Those have largely ended due to social distancing. So I have picked up some new habits (not all healthy).

I am always on the look out for ways to make work-life better, more fun, less like a traditional model of work really. Which is why when I saw this webinar was planned I thought "that's one I don't want to miss". We all know we plan to do these things and then if we aren't careful something else gets in the way. Not this time.

The panel members were all engaging and very open and honest about what has worked for them and their companies moving to home working. There were discussions about humps in the road and changes in mindset, developing trust and how to stay healthy and keep the fun.

Tips I learned

  • Take regular breaks, staff tend to sit for longer at their screens when they don't have colleagues around to break their tasks up
  • Foster a team spirit by having a regular Friday afternoon get together - not just a Friday virtual "going to the pub session", share an online quiz, start a team book group - think mental and physical health
  • Reduce stress for your colleagues, ask them what they need to help them achieve their tasks
  • Embrace the different personal circumstances your team has, finally get to see their family, animals as they wander into camera shot on a video call
  • Be mindful that bad habits can be started when the new normal is a blurred boundary between home and work - some of these habits can be unhealthy and so....
  • Check in with each other again and notice if something seems to have changed about them (not just that they're hair might slowly be changing colour from lack of a hairdressers touch)

The owner of the organisation I work for is definitely into fun and he has selected a team of people to work with him who reflect the same ethos and values. The stress of the economic impact of "lockdown", is certainly starting to show even in our upbeat team and I was able to pass on the very valuable insight of the panel that this situation truly can be used to look at our business and re-evaluate what we can do differently, better; its giving us a chance to develop, train and refine what is great about the service and product that we deliver.

Oh and I am getting a chance to write again (however badly) another thing to be thankful for.

Thanks to Glen Webster at Barclays Bank; James Grove - Indigo Swan; Tom Parsley & Kate Wood - Selesti; Kieran Miles - Ask, Duco; Sarah Hanson - UEA.