The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is an ever-changing situation. This article was published on 19 March 2020.
With the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, this may be the first time some of your team have had to work from home, whilst others may be used to it. We share the same challenges at Loch Associates Group. We know from experience how important it is at this time to consider how best (and how often) to communicate with each other and what we can do together to overcome any feelings of being isolated and help to avoid distractions! Here are some top tips to consider:
Getting some FaceTime
Seeing your teams is different from just speaking to them. Use technology like Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and WebEx to have video calls face to face. Most phones have these apps – or similar depending on the manufacturer – on them if you have difficulty accessing them using laptops.
Working safely – DSE assessments
Have you checked that your teams have a safe and appropriate space to work? For routine homeworkers this should have been checked already but some employees could be facing issues if they live with someone else who is working from home. Not many people have two areas which could work as an office. Have you thought about loaning out furniture, particularly office chairs for your teams to use? If you’re not sure what to do our team can carry out DSE assessments virtually to assess the home working space and provide tips to help your staff work from home. Get in touch for more information.
Dealing with family
Discuss with your teams their thoughts on working in a busy household. Avoiding other family members may be difficult if they are all at home together. Get your teams to plan in some alone time, whether it’s having a nice bath or sitting in bed reading a book. Frictions may well rise with families spending more time than usual together, so suggesting the planning of activities may help with this. It also may help to eat dinner and watch a TV programme together but then all spend some time apart where possible. Sharing childcare between adults will also help share out break time.
It’s important your teams are in a routine. It’s a good idea to start the day with a call or email and ensure everyone is able to access their work computer and are ready for the day. Make sure your staff have scheduled in breaks when they won’t be available, for example at lunch and an afternoon tea or coffee. It’s also important to remind them to switch off at their normal time. It’s easy to keep going when there isn’t a train or bus to catch home.
Reminder of the support available to them
Your teams will naturally have some anxiety and concerns about things at the moment. Remind them of the steps your business has in place, whether it’s an Employee Assistance Programme or access to a virtual GP appointment.
Our team at Loch Wellbeing offer counselling services and have a Mental Health Signposting Service for trained Mental Health First Aiders to access which provides them with ongoing access and guidance on how to manage a situation that arises at work.