According to a recent survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation and LinkedIn, over half (5%) of HR leaders believe mental health issues such as stress, burnout, isolation and loneliness had increased among their workforce since the coronavirus crisis began.
As staff slowly begin to trickle back into offices and workplaces across the UK, knowing how to support and re-motivate them following prolonged periods of social isolation can feel like unchartered territory. Keeping them focused on the task at hand can be a tall order for business owners and managers who still have to help staff adjust to the ‘new normal’, so here are a few pieces of advice on how to make the transition easier on your workforce.
Welcome them back
Just expecting everyone to get their nose to the grindstone at 9am on the first day back in the office isn’t going to win you many brownie points as a manager, so take the time to welcome your staff back properly.
Prepare a short speech which conveys the message that you understand just how difficult the last few months have been, and that you appreciate them returning to work despite some changes needing to be made to ensure staff safety and wellbeing.
By taking the time to acknowledge the turmoil that many people have undergone recently and showing how much you value them as individuals, you will inspire your team to get back to work with gusto.
Take it easy
Expecting staff to be back to 100% productivity from day one isn’t just unrealistic, but it can do far more harm than good in the long run.
The fact that many staff members might have been dealing with a deterioration in their mental health during lockdown should serve as a reminder to ease them back into a daily routine gently. By pushing them too hard to get back to their productive norms too quickly, you could end up demotivating them further.
Take it easy, give them a few weeks to decompress and readjust to new ways of working through social distancing etc. and you’ll gain their respect and loyalty for years to come.
Introduce wellness programmes
Many staff might take a while to regain their spark for work, so now is the ideal time to add a few wellness perks to your business.
From Friday afternoon pizzas in the office to reward productivity to offering access to counselling and weekly catch up meetings to discuss how your employees are feeling, small things can really help staff settle back into work and give them the tools they need to regain their motivation after lockdown.