Tough times don’t last, tough people, do. Testing times mostly come unannounced – be it slowed economy, a deadly virus, or natural disasters. In tough times, organisations find themselves with fewer people, working with limited resources under immense pressure. There was a time when employee wellness programs and engagement initiatives were the first ones to get axed in critical situations; organisations considered them as an additional overhead cost which had to be eliminated to focus on the task at hand.
Fortunately, times have changed and with changing times organisations have come to realize that ensuring employee wellness in times of crisis is more of a necessity than a luxury. Ensuring that employees are at their best physically and mentally is paramount during such times to ensure continued efficiency and productivity in operations.
Here are a few impactful initiatives which can show employees that organisations truly care for them –
1. Flexible Work Environment – Tough times are financially and emotionally taxing on all employees. During such times it is important to make the well-being of employees your first priority. Offering flexible work timing or work from home at this time will ensure continuity in operation along with consistent productivity.
2. Regular Catchup’s – It is important to stay in constant touch with employees and reassure them that tough times shall pass eventually. A daily / weekly informal face to face meetup or virtual coffee catch up in the current situation can go a long way in boosting employee morale. Many teams are doing virtual coffee meets and online lunch to ensure that employees working from home feel connected with their teammates and managers.
3. Employee Assistance Program – Ensuring the psychological well-being of employees is as important as ensuring physical well-being however it is often ignored. Making in-person or online counselling services available to employees through employee assistance programs in testing times will provide them with the required emotional support, which may be otherwise unavailable to them.
4. Fitness Initiatives – Even in tough times it is imperative that employees remain physically fit and active. Organizing fitness challenges at the workplace or virtually is a simple yet effective way of reminding employees that their health is the organisation’s number one priority- the plank challenge has been doing the rounds on the internet lately -its simple, implementable and costs nothing! In addition, emphasizing on the importance of following a proper diet and managing stress effectively using meditation and yoga are other effective ways of ensuing physical well-being of employees.
5. Communication – Lastly, in testing times like these it is extremely important for organisations to remain transparent and empathetic while sharing information. Well-articulated and time to time communication transmitted to all employees plays a crucial role in ensuring that employees feel that they are a part of the family thus emerging stronger through the crisis.
How organisations treat their employees during tough times is the true test of the ethics and values of the organisation. Investment in employee physical and mental well-being in testing times if executed properly can create a lasting bond between the employees and the organisation. As they say, people will forget what you did and what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.