The organisation has a digital GP service in place, but did not want to see the usage of this service rise, and looked at preventive measures to assist its employees during the current climate.
To avoid any stress or anxiety around financial uncertainty, the organisation made the decision not to furlough any of its staff and has guaranteed pay rises for for the next three years.
Nicole Westcott, head of HR operations at Severn Trent Water, explains: “We settled our workforce so we didn’t see those pockets of anxiety pop up because people had stability from a work perspective. We haven’t seen mental health issues climb in our business. We reassured people quite quickly and we got people behind the positive things quite quickly too.”
To keep its employees fully up-to-date with the latest Coronavirus developments, Severn Trent created a communications hub populated with the government’s announcements in a digestible, easy-to-read format. The organisation initially sent daily communications which it later reduced to three times a week.
“We gave people the opportunity to be informed so they didn’t put pressure on [digital GP] resources unnecessarily and [the communications] really helped if people were anxious or feeling ill,” adds Westcott. “They could still ring the Doctor@Hand service and get a little bit of advice, but we wanted to give people the information and make it meaningful, and then they can make the proper judgement call as in what is right for them.”
The organisation also created a wellbeing steering group to assist the half of its workforce who were unaccustomed to a working-from-home environment. Team members were assigned to personally speak to any employees who needed help, for example, if they needed to create a personal plan to manage working from home, if they were shielding, or their job had to be slightly modified because they couldn’t do their ordinary job from home.
“Ultimately, we want to help people feel safe and secure during this time. If [an employee] has got a worry they can talk to a doctor relatively easily with Doctor@Hand but it means that people only used this service if they really need to,” explains Westcott. “It’s very hard for a doctor to convince someone over the phone that they are are okay if they are feeling anxious or worried. Information is key for us and that’s why we spent our time educating our employees.”