How to Safeguard Your Health and Wellbeing

Amid the Growing Fear of Going Back to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic

26/06/20

Mike Lawrence

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'Post lockdown anxiety' is the worry and fear of returning to normal life as the lockdown measures are relaxed and eventually lifted.


Despite the easing of the lockdown, a recent survey showed that more than 60% of the population is uncomfortable with the possibility of returning to restaurants and bars, using public transport, and attending large social gatherings, such as sporting events.  


It's not surprising, given the abundance of news about the coronavirus on every channel and media communication every day. Messages on popular TV shows reminding us all to stay at home. The daily tally of countries affected and fatalities incurred.


As a result, we have a heightened awareness of the outbreak and associated risks.


We all react in different ways, depending on our belief systems and level of emotional resilience and general wellbeing.


A study published in the British Journal of Psychology in 2011 found that the ill effects of watching bad news becomes evident after only 14 minutes, and that absorbing such messages over many hours each day has an even larger detrimental impact.


Further research by the networking site LinkedIn, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, reported that over half of the adults surveyed admitted that their mental health had worsened since lockdown began on March 23rd.


The survey also disclosed that Britons, on average, have been working 28 hours overtime each month - the equivalent of an additional four days. 


54% of respondents said they would welcome the opportunity to continue working from home - given the option from their employers, post-lockdown. 


However, a top concern amongst employees is the uncertainty around their jobs and the threat of redundancy once lockdown is lifted. 


Despite heightened feelings of stress and anxiety, some benefits of working from home have become apparent. I've worked remotely and from home for most of my career. It takes a different approach and mindset to that required in an office environment, however, and it's not easy for everyone to adapt. I’d therefore be curious to know if people who see working from home as a 'nice thing to do' feel the same way after 6 or 12 months of such practice. 


Of those surveyed, just under a quarter said they had more time to devote to exercise, and 17 per cent said they were eating more healthily. I have to agree with the findings; I’ve trained more during lockdown than I did before. 


So, as we're urged to venture out, to spend money in the shops and return to the workplace, the environment outside our front door is different from the one we left behind on March 23rd, 2020. 


My clinic closed to the general public in mid-March and it reopens during the first week of July. The clinic will have a slightly different look and feel but it will still be welcoming, due to the safety precautions I'm required to implement before inviting my clients back through the doors. 


There is much work for anyone involved with delivering products and services to safeguard people’s wellbeing and safety. Done correctly, it will go some way to alleviate the fear and anxiety that may be visible when individuals do venture outside. 


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Here are my health and wellbeing tips on adopting a new way of living and going about our everyday lives safely in this new normal:


Adopt and implement a wellbeing policy and communicate your strategy


As part of your organisation's corporate social responsibility, if you haven't already considered investing in a wellbeing strategy, I would strongly urge you to do so. A study by Deloitte highlighted that an employer’s investment into their employees’ mental health yields an average return of £5 for every £1 spent.


Review your business procedures and processes  


Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, tells his employees that it will always be ‘Day One’ within the company. To act like a start-up, Bezos encourages Amazon personnel to consider four things: to be obsessed with the customer, to focus on results over process, to make high-quality decisions quickly, and to embrace external trends as soon as they appear.


Invite all employees to an onboarding meeting


It’s likely that you haven't seen your employees for many months – at least face to face. Specific tasks, duties and skills appropriate to their role may have slightly waned; therefore, it's key to provide an induction programme to enable some of your employees to relearn aspects, get back up to speed, and to reinforce any changes - such as safety requirements following a COVID-19 health and safety risk assessment.


Communicate realistic business and employee objectives


Uncertainty about the future and financial worries are some of the biggest concerns facing us all at the moment. Employees are looking for leadership to help them with some of the challenges. It's not a time to shirk responsibility, but to give advice, help and support.


Demonstrate that you care


You may be familiar with the phrase ‘company culture’, but perhaps not given much thought to its meaning. A company culture embodies a company's character, i.e. how it treats, and what it values about, its employees and its offering. 


Company culture can be the distinction between working in a place that you loathe versus somewhere you love to be and where you thoroughly enjoy working.  


Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller - a $2.5 billion manufacturing company that has 12,000 employees in plants around the world - decided that the goal of the company should be to send people home fulfilled at the end of each working day. The company began seeing employees as people who are precious to others, rather than objects.


They built a culture in which people cared for one another. The consequence was a much higher level of altruism, where people genuinely offered to do things for others without expecting anything in return. The company is financially successful, with a compound growth rate in earnings of approximately 16 per cent per year.


Make the ‘intangibles’ priorities


Workplace intangibles - whether honest communication, creating a vibe of caring and teamwork, or ensuring workers are intellectually stimulated and free from harassment - are deemed essential components of on-the-job wellness. Companies that seize the vital intangibles will increase profitability through greater productivity and employee motivation, rather than through turnover.



If you would like some assistance or you’d like to discuss how I can help you to develop your wellbeing (or the wellbeing of someone in your world who you know requires support), please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Telephone 0114 327 2683 or email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk 

https://www.mikelawrence.co.uk/


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