As the effects of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic continue to be felt across the world, many employers are being forced to furlough staff, reduce pay or implement job cuts in a bid to stay in business.
Meanwhile, it is likely that remaining employees at these organisations are facing personal struggles of their own as a result of Coronavirus, which could be impacting their morale and motivation. Some might be struggling with financial worries, as well as the demands of home schooling and home working, while others may feel isolated which, in turn, has a negative effect on their mental health.
This is why there has never been a more appropriate time for employers to show staff that they care and that they appreciate their workforce. An example of this was reported earlier this week, when Lidl rewarded its frontline staff with £200 ‘thank you’ in recognition of the commitment they had demonstrated to the business. The payment – to around 25,000 in-store staff, cleaners and those who work in its warehouses – was at a cost to the business of around £5.5 million. If the outcome was that it boosted employee motivation and engagement, I’m sure the supermarket chain thought it was well worth it.
But while financial rewards may not be possible at every organisation, there are plenty of other ways that employers can help their staff through the crisis. For example, Employee Benefits research found that four-fifths (82%) of employers are giving working parents more flexibility to cope during lockdown. A further 2% said they are offering paid time off, unpaid leave, or granting staff access to various support forums or networks.
And employers should also consider providing home working staff with assessments of their new working conditions. Worryingly, a poll of 1,000 UK employees who had been working from home for at least four months by Fellowes Brands revealed more than a third (38%) were reporting symptoms of stress and anxiety, with a further 32% feeling isolated.
Now, more than ever, it is clear that employers must not take the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff for granted. Nor should they rest on their laurels when it comes to ensuring their staff are happy and healthy.