Over the past couple of months, the world was gripped by a pandemic. COVID-19 swept across every country, threatening the health of every citizen across the world. Many governments found the best way to help contain this was to enforce curfews, lockdowns, and more.
Businesses were also shut down. This led millions of people to find themselves without the means to pay their bills and cover their basic necessities. With livelihoods at risk, people became either desperate or creative.
Now, imagine if the well-being of those employees was already suffering. Existing in a less-than-favorable work environment is an incredibly stressful way to spend 40+ hours of your week. When the world outside of work becomes equally stressful, it is not a recipe for a happy existence.
Out of this, many businesses are going to have to take a look at the environment they have created for their employees. If you can’t answer the question, “Is the well-being of your employees a priority?”, you need to seriously reevaluate how you run your company. It doesn’t matter if your business focuses on retail, services, or cloud application development – you are not immune.
Fortunately, the care and feeding of employee well-being aren’t terribly challenging. Let me offer a few pieces of advice that might get you going on this journey.
Offer A Concierge Service
Your employees work hard to help make your business successful. It’s time you returned the favor to help make their lives successful. One thing that will go a long way is to offer an employee concierge service. Hire a new staff member to help pick up the slack of your employees lives. This person can run errands for those employees and handle some of the tasks they can’t do because of duties.
It’s very important that your employees understand the concierge service is there to help them with just about anything. If they have dry cleaning to pick up, gifts to purchase, kids to pick up, or lunch to purchase, the concierge is there for them. Do make sure to set ground rules for this, so employees don’t either monopolize or abuse the service.
Offer Finance Classes
One issue many people struggle with is financial planning. You can go a long way by bringing someone in to offer classes that will help educate your staff on how to do things like budgets, taxes, and investing.
Never take for granted the stress brought about by finances. They are not only real but can sometimes be crushing.
And speaking of finance…
It can’t be said enough that you must pay your employees not just a living wage, but a wage that makes them feel as though their contribution to your business is valued. One of the biggest complaints you’ll find is workers being underpaid.
If possible, you want to be that employer other people use as a model for fair compensation. Be the business everyone uses as a Litmus test for salary and the well-being of your employees will rise considerably.
Create a Welcoming Environment
No matter how many benefits or programs you offer, if you don’t promote a welcoming and comfortable environment, the well-being of your staff will suffer. This can be especially so in the high-stress world of cloud application development or tech support. When the job itself is already stressful, if employees are having to work in an environment that isn’t safe, calm, and enjoyable, that stress can cause high attrition rates or worse.
From the top-down, make sure every employee understands their work environment is a welcoming and supportive place. An open-door policy for all managers can help this, as can proper training for handling all types of situations.
This environment should also encourage and value individual team members. Recognizing employees for a job well done can go a long, long way to boosting the morale and well-being of those staff members. Make them feel respected and appreciated at all times.
Mental Health Support
No matter what you do to improve the well being of your employees, if they don’t have a way to deal with mental health issues, things can go wrong. This doesn’t mean you have to hire an on-site therapist or counselor, but you should at least have your HR prepared with the necessary resources to care for the mental health of your staff.
Make sure your staff is educated to handle various mental health issues. Your managers and other upper-level staff need to know how to recognize specific behaviors and how to respond to them. For instance, if you hire an employee who is on the Autism spectrum, your staff needs to know how to respect their boundaries and how to properly respond should something occur.
One thing to consider is bringing in someone (or multiple someones) to teach things like Thai Chi, or offer free massage (paid for by the company, of course). Perks like that can help relax busy and stressed staff members.
You might also consider offering paid “mental health days.” Sometimes people aren’t sick, they’re just sick of working. Having paid mental health days could help alleviate the added stress of having to use a sick day when an employee simply wants to call in well. And encourage your employees to use those mental health days.
Believe it or not, it doesn’t really take all that much to improve the well being of your employees. Being mindful alone is a huge step, but it’s not always enough. With a few small changes and additions, your business can be transformed into a place people truly enjoy working.
Don’t wait until another pandemic comes to focus on the mental and emotional well being of your employees. Jump on this as soon as possible.
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