More than two-fifths of UK workers are anxious about the prospect of returning to the workplace following the coronavirus outbreak according to a CIPD survey conducted in May.
The poll of 1,000 working adults, conducted by YouGov for the CIPD, found that 44% reported feeling anxious about the prospect of going back to work because of the health risks posed by Covid-19 to them and those close to them.
The survey also revealed that 31% of workers were anxious about commuting to work. This figure jumped to 52% in London, where commutes are often longer.
6 Tips To Support Your People When They’re Returning To Work
1. Have an Action Plan
Use the government guidance on safety in the workplace to identify what you can do to protect your team in the workplace.
2. Keep Your Team Updated
What measures have your workplace taken to ensure that guidelines are adhered to? Sometimes the biggest impact on anxiety levels can be that feeling of not knowing what to expect. Let your team know exactly what measures are in place, it may start to reassure them and reduce feelings of worry and anxiety.
3. Flexible Working
If travelling via public transport is causing your team members increased anxiety levels, be prepared to discuss flexible working options. Whether it’s working from home, travelling at off-peak times when transport may be quieter, using a cycle to work scheme to avoid transport, phased returns or exploring other options specific to their circumstances. Have a plan in place on how you can support individuals, if it’s necessary for them to be physically in the workplace.
4. Training Your Managers
Ahead of returning to work, consider online or virtual training to equip managers around topics such as:
- having sensitive conversations around wellbeing and mental health
- understanding the rationale for stress management and wellbeing
- being able to implement reasonable adjustments and create action plans
- being more receptive and supportive
Get in touch to find out more about training options for managers and wellbeing champions.
5. Establish a Wellbeing Working Party or Wellbeing Champions Network
Explore digital training to equip a selected cohort of staff to empower them to deliver stress management and wellbeing guidance, to determine what will work in the organisation, support the wellbeing strategy, and implement a stress and wellbeing policy framework.
6. Monitor and Review Regularly
Ensure actions have been satisfactorily undertaken, evaluate and make any necessary adjustments. Communicate any progress to all employees, including senior management. Provide an opportunity for feedback, so that you can continue to evolve your return to work strategy and support the wellbeing of your entire team.
For more advice and tools to support your team’s wellbeing, get in touch for a complimentary wellbeing consultation.