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The New Phase of Work – It Ain’t Easy

29 April 2022

The new phase of work is well underway. Employees are back at work with hybrid working models, flexible working and fully present arrangements in place. Is everything going ok with this new phase? Maybe not.

The CIPD reported recently that out of a survey of 2,200 employees, 67% were experiencing moderate to high levels of stress. On top of this, 53% felt fatigued with tiredness impacting their productivity at work. Workload, a lack of control and a lack of support were cited as the main causes.

As businesses crank up productivity some employees will thrive happy being back in the workplace, while others may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.

With all Covid restrictions now lifted, some employees will be genuinely concerned about staying safe at work. For them, being around others is not welcome and will take time to get used to. The importance of making all employees feel physically and psychologically safe and welcome is huge.

Employers are being asked to understand this reality, show support, empathy and a level of understanding of their employees as individuals through continuing difficult times. With everything going on in the world currently, people have a lot to worry about.

It’s good to talk. And even better to listen. Ask your employees how they are and what’s working well for them at work. Be inclusive and create a sense of belonging in the workplace. Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that employees with a strong sense of belonging at work is linked to a 56% increase in job performance and 75% fewer absence days. Pretty powerful stuff.

Holding inclusive conversations about wellbeing makes employees feel valued. It reassures them that in this changed work life landscape they are seen as individuals and their contribution at work is valued. This is time well spent in terms of maintaining loyalty, engagement and motivation. Being conscious of this will also help businesses retain their talent in a buoyant job market.

Inclusivity and looking after the wellbeing and mental health of employees must be top priority for businesses now. Listen to your employees and support their wellbeing wherever you can. A little goes a long way in terms of making employees feel valued and ‘safe’ in all aspects of the word.

Top tips from us:

Returning to the Workplace

  • Actively engage with employees, listen and understand
  • Ensure workload is managed properly
  • Show patience as everyone adapts to their new normal
  • Allow time to rebuild working relationships, not everyone will want to be there

Wellbeing & Mental Health

  • Understand that new levels of anxiety and worry are real
  • Encourage employees to look after themselves – live well, sleep well, switch off from work after hours
  • Give room for psychological safety. Discuss personal preferences for work environment hygiene rules – masks, social distancing, sanitizer, hugging, handshakes - not everyone will want to adapt when restrictions are lifted
  • Offer Mental Health awareness sessions
  • Consider appointing Mental Health First Aiders at work

There’s a lot going on for people to deal with at the moment. Align People HR are here to help you manage the rapidly changing working environment, give us a call.

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