Tips for supporting work-from-home employees during COVID-19

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// Under the WHS act, whether your employees are working in an office or at home, organisations are committed to eliminate risks of injury and illness in the workplace. This includes mental risks too…

As many employees are feeling unsettled or uncertain during this time, employers must ensure everyone in their organisation feels safe, informed, and prepared…

Rod Beath, workplace safety specialist at SAI Global

SAI Global, a provider of integrated risk management solutions, assurance and property services, lists eight tips for how employers can look out for their employee’s wellbeing as they work from home.

1. Monitor any physical health risks to your employees

Employers should allow their employees to work from home, if possible, to limit the spread of COVID-19. If it isn’t possible, it’s vital to check that no one comes to work if they have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath. Though I’m sure your employees have heard that enough already from social media and the news).

2. Communicate with your employees regularly about the steps your business it taking to address COVID-19 on behalf of them

Provide them a summary or review of your current pandemic preparedness plan will assure them that their organisation is supporting their health & wellbeing.

3. Be open & transparent with employees about their job security

As a business owner or employer, if you’re holding onto employees, be sure to reassure them of their job security. At present, this is source of anxiety for workers. SAI Global suggests holding a video conference explaining they’re safe, and the company is trying to keep them.

4. Stay in contact

Ways to keep in contact with your employees is through videoconferencing software like Zoom. Teleconferencing can be helpful too, as long as your employees can feel personally connected. Hearing someone else’s voice is more effective and comforting than just reading emails.

5. Prepare & continually review a work-from-home strategy

Employers can ask to see a photo of their employee’s home set-ups, to see that it meets WHS requirements. This is to check that their work-from-home arrangements can support a good home-office environment. Consult with your employees about having access to laptops, telecoms, or functional internet capabilities.

6. Promote a positive, inclusive culture by setting up regular virtual coffee meetings

You need to be proactive on organising social inertations with and amongst staff to maintain positive relationships. Keep in mind of your workers that haven’t worked at home before, so social isolation will deeply impact their wellbeing. Tips to encourage this positivity is to mark birthdays or other milestones in the catch-up sessions.

7. Encourage a healthy work-life balance by setting time limits

Employers need to agree on working hours so their employees know they aren’t expected to work beyond their usual, just because their working from home. Organising this can help prevent burnout during this challenging time.

8. Educate staff of of ways to stay mentally healthy while working from home

Offering tutorials on mindfulness, webinars on resilience, or even encouraging employees to go outside from time to time lets them know they aren’t alone; their wellbeing is being cared for.

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If you wish to book an Occupational Health and Safety audit by SAI global, head over here.

Photo supplied by pexels.com.