When the rollercoaster of the COVID-19 pandemic means your staff are required to return to WFH (working from home) without much prior warning, this can trigger a range of emotions. Please check in on the wellbeing of your team members during these times.
Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees, so it is important to note that remote and isolated work is recognised by SafeWork Australia as a mental health hazard in the workplace. People working remotely may not have easy access to resources, communication or support.
The risk to mental health is made worse when:
No policies and procedures are in place for working alone, remotely or in isolation
Employees lack the appropriate equipment or technology for communication (important for safety and social connection)
The workplace doesn’t offer flexibility
The workplace doesn’t offer an employee assistance program or wellness support program
There is a community crisis such as a bushfire or pandemic, which may cause grief, fear, fatigue, heavier workloads, financial distress, and/ or extra pressures at home
Review your organisational policies and processes for work health and safety, and mental health
Ensure you are providing flexible and healthy workloads, allowing for rest and recovery
Keep staff informed on significant workplace changes or issues, including what this means for them and their jobs
Regularly check on each employee’s wellbeing through good communication— be accessible and demonstrate that it’s OK to talk about mental health
Look out for behavioural changes and learn how to respond to an employee who is struggling
Provide support resources, such as an Employee Assistance Program
If staff are working remotely due to a crisis such as COVID-19, they may feel increased isolation and uncertainty. Supervisors will need to be more empathetic and flexible regarding what staff are dealing with at home, and more available for regular check-ins to help keep staff on track and ensure they are coping.
For more information, please contact us today.