The events of 2020 have had a significant impact on the wellbeing of many people across the country. When we first went into lockdown in March, half of British adults reported feeling anxious. Health, making ends meet and job security were among the top worries - and for many people, still are.
Since then, businesses have been forced to ‘pivot’ in order to survive, make tough decisions to furlough staff, and find ways to maintain cash flow. Office workers have been forced to work from home and adapt to working in dispersed teams, causing feelings of exhaustion and a general sense of ‘groundhog day’.
But through the difficult times, there are things to celebrate, such as the way teams have pulled together to keep businesses afloat. Here, we share some employee wellbeing boosters that could help to lift your team as they enter the last few weeks of the year. Finishing the year on a high will help people to come back feeling more motivated and energised for 2021.
1. Celebrate successes
Why not organise a virtual meeting or happy hour to thank your team for all their hard work this year? With the absence of office Christmas parties, it might be a nice way to ring in the end of the year. Make sure you celebrate the things that have gone well and congratulate people for their efforts - being praised makes people feel better. You could even incorporate awards for staff members who’ve gone above and beyond.
Recognising the efforts your workers have gone to this year and showing them you appreciate their hard work will give them a great boost to take them through to the end of the year - and into the next.
2. Find ways to reward employees
Are there any other ways you can thank your employees for getting through a hard year? If it’s feasible for your business, perhaps you could let everyone take Christmas Eve as an extra day of annual leave. Not only will it feel like a treat, but holidays allow people to come back feeling refreshed, happier and more productive, so if you can give them that little extra time, it may benefit you in the long run.
3. Listen to your employees
Ask your workers for feedback on what’s gone well and what hasn’t. What can you learn from this year that you can take forward to make your people and your team stronger in the future? Connectivity is harder when remote working, no matter how many Zoom calls you participate in. People may be feeling disconnected and that they don’t have a voice. Make sure they know they do.
4. Commit to flexible working beyond covid
This year has caused even the most stubborn of work from home critics to realise that it is possible for people to work from home effectively. While many workers will be keen to get back to the office at some point, there are likely to be those who want to split their time between the office and the home going forward. If you’re happy to be more flexible about where - and even when - people choose to work, let your employees know, if you haven’t already. This may be something that’s playing on people’s minds, so it's worth reassuring them now.
5. Introduce new wellbeing initiatives
Are there any new wellbeing initiatives you could introduce within the company? How about mindfulness training? Studies have shown that mindfulness can help to reduce stress and foster positive emotions. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is one way you can choose to invest in your employees' wellbeing. Or how about offering volunteering days? Volunteering has been proven to enhance happiness, satisfaction, self-esteem and a sense of control over life - something people might really benefit from right now.
These may not be things you can implement this year. But why not talk to your team now about whether they may be interested in some of these initiatives for next year?
By taking a proactive approach to improving the wellbeing of your employees, you’re not only improving their quality of life, but you’re also helping to create a more motivated, engaged and high-performing workforce. Business owners and managers should always be thinking about ways to boost the wellbeing of their employees. And this year, we need that little boost more than ever.