Robert Green: What can employers do to lift team spirits and combat potential isolation in winter?

Robert Green: What can employers do to lift team spirits and combat potential isolation in winter?

There is no doubt the world has changed dramatically this year, having a significant impact on the way we live and work. With winter looming and employees still predominantly working from home, we need to be conscious that employees may feel isolated.

That is why at Colt, our main aim is to ensure our staff remain at the heart of everything we do. During these last six months, it has been critical for Colt to lay the foundations and make sure employees are supported and, as we continue to navigate through this time, we are continuously building on this.

Some areas of focus include promoting wellbeing and encouraging employee engagement to make sure no one feels alone. One of the key things we put in place was a selection of mental health webinars, and we have launched a mental health first aider programme, where we trained 35 employees as first points of contact in the workplace to support staff who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.

We did this to make sure staff have the right help in place to ensure employee wellbeing is maintained, especially as we go into winter where isolation naturally occurs. We have also developed a manager guide and a dedicated intranet area to unpack mental health and mental illness, as well as the steps we can take to increase our psychological resilience.

Employee engagement has always been important for us at Colt. Now more than ever, we need to listen to the changing needs of our employees. It is fair to say we have developed our online Colt community and encouraged more informal methods of communication to help employees keep in touch.

We have also moved towards collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Facebook Workplace, as well as having team breakfast meetings, virtual catch-ups and lunches to bring our teams together.

From a more formal perspective, Colt has delivered surveys to understand employees’ feedback on a deeper level. For instance, our pulse survey scored very positively, and it showed us that constant communication has been critical and, going forward, we are committing to regular communication and updates as we go into winter.

It is very clear we are now in a ‘new normal’, because of this we see it as our responsibility to make sure employees feel supported and connected to our organisation and each other. Therefore, this is going to be an ongoing journey for us, and constant collaboration between ourselves and our employees is essential to make sure no one feels isolated and that they remain a part of our strong Colt community.

Robert Green is vice president reward at Colt Technology Services.