Wellbeing for home workers – what NOT to do

home workers
By Anthony Wolny | 12th May 2020 | 14 min read

Did you know your employees are more worried about their mental wellbeing than their general health during the nationwide Coronavirus pandemic? Well, a recent survey published by the Office for National Statistics suggests just that.

So, we wanted to offer a few words of guidance in terms of what NOT to do to promote wellbeing during this difficult time…

DON’T organise mandatory healing circles

Most employers recognise the importance of taking employee wellbeing seriously. But, however well intentioned, one of the biggest problems with wellbeing strategies is that they assume that there’s only one way to stay well. So, while a percentage of your people may relish the opportunity to try a few different types of wellbeing activities, no one thing is for everyone. By all means offer new wellbeing initiatives, but don’t make them mandatory. Respect the differences in your workforce. Yoga, meditation and talking openly about the way lockdown is making them feel will be helpful for some – but not all.  

DON’T force feed healthy living

Eating healthily and staying physically fit are important parts of overall wellbeing. But, they’re not the only aspects of staying well and it’s absolutely not an employer’s responsibility to monitor them. Many people have complicated relationships with food and exercise, and going through during such a challenging and uncertain time could exasperate this. So instead of offering blanket advice, why not encourage your people to share healthy recipe ideas? Or encourage gentle movement during the working day through (optional) walking meetings?

DON’T increase working hours

Yes, with the majority of the world closed for lockdown, in theory we should all have more time right now. But that doesn’t mean we should be spending more time working. One of the most important aspects of wellbeing is spending time resting, with friends or family, and taking part in personal pursuits and interests. So, now isn’t the time to be ramping up the workload. Instead, encourage your people to maintain a work/life balance and share with each other how they’re spending their free time. And remember that many of your team may be balancing work with home schooling, volunteering and caring for vulnerable family members – so be as flexible as you can.

DON’T make self-care competitive

Social media is rife with people over-achieving during lockdown. To some, this will be motivating and inspiring. To others, it’s piling on pressure that simply isn’t helpful right now. So, try to get the balance right between encouraging wellbeing among your employees, and recognising that self-care sometimes means doing absolutely nothing at all.

DON’T do nothing

While a tricky subject to get right, it’s more important than ever that you’re finding ways to open up conversations about wellbeing right now. Whether that’s by communicating the wellbeing initiatives open to your employees, sharing ideas among your workforce, or simply offering opportunities for your people to ask questions about the current situation. Whatever you do, don’t force employees to do wellbeing your way – it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ topic.

DO download our guide to employee wellbeing

We’ve published a guide on setting up a wellbeing strategy that truly supports your employees. Including business benefits of a wellbeing strategy, gaining buy-in and the seven areas of wellbeing you should consider, click here to get your copy.