Prioritizing employee well-being in the virtual worldApril 24, 2020
For many of us, a day in the office looks completely different now than what we’re used to. Many people are working from home for the first time, while also juggling personal responsibilities. “Business as usual” may continue, but there’s nothing usual about it.
In an effort to learn from and support one another, we recently hosted a virtual meet-up to talk about the impact of work-from-home isolation on our employees’ well-being. We were delighted to see some of our clients and partners from coast to coast join us to share in the discussion – a testament that we truly are all in this together.
The crisis is affecting all of us, in different ways. According to Stats Canada, 84% of Canadians are anxious about overloading the health system; 50% are worried about the health of a family member; and over a third are experiencing family stress from being confined. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep employee well-being top of mind.
Erica Pearson, CEO of Vacation Fund, led the online discussion with our amazing line-up of guest speakers, who each provided their unique perspective on employee well-being. So many heartfelt and insightful comments were shared. We’ve done our best to distill them down to a few key takeaways:
People remember how you make them feel. Treat your staff like people, not resources. Take the time to understand the unique needs of each person. They may be caring for young children or elderly parents, or new to Canada with no family support networks. Being flexible to people’s arrangements and personal situations will build trust and empathy amongst your team.
“Trust your team to get their work done even if they are out of sight. It’s empowering for people to know they’re trusted. Leading in this way will likely drive stronger employee engagement than what we may have had going into this crisis.”
Mike D’Amico, VP HR & HR Practice Leader, Stratford Managers consulting
Work from home tools
For some, this may be the first time working from home and they may not be used to all the distractions of a busy household. Kitchen tables, dining rooms and home offices are doubling as home schools and boardroom tables. Offering your team information on how to set up a new work-from-home space can help support them.
“We created a special ‘Guide to working from home’ for our staff. It’s a great resource full of tips to help people set up their home work space and create a routine, along with suggestions for how they can maximize their productivity.”
Darren Massel, Senior Business Development Manager, Strategic ISV Partners, Microsoft
>> Check out the Guide to working from home
Leverage positive change
With every challenge comes an opportunity. It’s important to take note of the positive changes that can result from unfortunate circumstances such as we’re facing today. Some organizations shared seeing an increase in communication and collaboration, such as virtual clubs and social events. Others mentioned a greater sense of community and empathy as colleagues asked each other about their families and made time for personal connections.
“Our level of engagement has never been higher. When we re-emerge or phase back into society it will be great to see some of these lessons come with us.”
Kevin Drynan, Chairman of the Advisory Board, PureFacts
Rest and recharge
Remember to be kind to your employees and yourself, especially as we consider what everyone may be going through. Individual situations are very unique and it can feel as though there’s no differentiation between work and home.
“We’re reminding people to take vacation. While it may sound odd, taking time for people to step away from this, turn off the news, and just spend some time away from the work is a critical element. Encouraging your teammates to take time to care for themselves and set boundaries plays a crucial role in employee well-being.”
Paul C. Adair, Director & Portfolio Manager, Products and Services, Richardson GMP Ltd.
We want to thank all our speakers and guest attendees for participating and sharing their great insights. We’re here to support our clients through these times, and appreciate the opportunity to learn from all of you. We look forward to more opportunities to connect and share.
What resonated with you?
If you were at our first Virtual Meet-up, what insights or thoughts did you take away from the discussion? We’d love to hear them. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 905-484-0083.