Let’s start with a big understatement. We are living in uncertain times. We don’t know what this virus is going to do to us, to our business, or our staff. We don’t really know what the government is going to do next so we are continually waiting for a daily briefing to get the next information for us to digest and worry over for the next 24 hours.
There is panic buying in the supermarkets and please be aware, that is an action of a deeper symptom of anxiety that is going on for people, your people. They find it difficult to express, they don’t sit well with feeling out of control and they are seeking to control the one thing they still can…the family resources of toilet roll.
In the midst of this you are likely to be asking them to change the way they are working and this could bring further anxieties into play.
Employers have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA 1974), and associated legislation, to protect the health, safety and welfare at work of their workforce, as well as others who may be affected by their operations.
Employers also have a common law duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of their workforce.
These are high risk times
For the reasons outlined above your employees have a lot more on their minds than just their work. It would be difficult to simply expect them to focus in a new environment in the same way they have always done in the workplace.
It may be worth asking yourself….
- Does asking your employee to work from home cause any emotional or mental health issues.
- Is work their only social contact? The implication being this is forced social isolation
- What other issues are they worrying about? Health, money, job security, resources?
- Is their home environment suitable to focus and concentrate let alone physically safe as a working environment?
Tomorrow versus the new future
At the moment many of us are thinking about the impact of COVID 19 on tomorrow. The responsibility of a business leader, however, and by default you if you are the owner, is to be thinking further into the future. What happens when the ship you are steering can actually see land? Will you have the resources i.e. the staff available and ready to take advantage of the new landscape that awaits?
How you treat your staff now will be a key determinant of how they treat you and your business when you get back into recovery mode.
If you want to stress assess those you are asking to work from home there is a brilliant resource (here) provided by Mente the Mental Health & Safety platform. It could provoke you to support a team member in a different way to that which you were planning and make a real difference to them now, and your business now and in the future.
If you feel any of your team members would benefit from understanding how they are dealing with an uncertain world then this free resource is available at My Internal World the Emotional Health development hub. This is a free assessment with a personalised report on your relationship with uncertainty. Once you read your personalised report it gives you a video with areas you can work on to improve how you deal with uncertainty.
If you think team members would benefit from some focused coaching or you would like us to support your team with a webinar you know where we are. Here is a link to some of our more requested seminars.
Like it or not this crisis we are in is going to be defining in terms of what we have to work with and who we have to work with in the future.
When to take action
Obviously I am going to say take action now. You do, however, have many things to worry about at the same time.
I would certainly advocate the stress risk assessment from Mente immediately.
Also the uncertainty assessment, report and support is worth using as they are both provided for free.
At this moment, in the midst of the stormy seas where the waves are obscuring vision and you don’t know where you are going to be you may not want to spend money on a resource such as Calm People. If that is where you are, don’t worry. When the waves calm a little and are just choppy and you have a better sight of land then we will still be here…if you need us.