How is your Business Feeling Post-COVID?
In light of Mental Health Awareness week in May, and the events over the last 18 months, we’d like to put all things strictly business aside. For the time being, Business Doctors would like you to focus on how both you and your team are currently feeling. This will allow you to regroup, restart and move forwards as a team. Working remotely has been an unknown territory for most, so it’s completely normal for you and your staff to not be feeling 100%.
From an Owners Perspective
The pandemic brought a whole host of new stresses for business owners to deal with:
Isolation has meant considering a new approach to employee management and engagement. Keeping your people connected with streaming services such as Zoom needed to be integrated into your business as quickly as possible. This was even more stressful for those unfamiliar with such platforms.
Business operations may have ceased or needed to be adapted to adhere to new regulations – this required developing a new strategy with multiple considerations.
Sales and income may have decreased, meaning difficult decisions on expense cuts.
One of the biggest implications of the lockdown on SMEs has been the high level of redundancies. Letting team members go is never a fun job, especially when it’s through no fault of theirs. This may have seriously impacted both their and your own mental health. Even more so if you run a smaller, tight-knit business.
Being so focused on keeping your business afloat may have distracted you from looking inwards. Did you consider your own mental wellbeing and how it was impacted?
Or, the isolation and separation from friends and colleagues may have been playing on your mind throughout.
From an Employee Perspective
For many, spending such a significant period of time working from home has highlighted how important the workplace is. Not just as a place to work, but as a social outlet too. For others, it’s become a new way of working that they wish to continue with, which is perfectly fine. However, dealing with the mental effects of isolation away from friends, family and colleagues has been a struggle for most, regardless of where your team prefers to work.
Some of your employees may have been able to get on with their work at home without too much mental strain. Others may be feeling stressed and very overwhelmed by the level of isolation they’ve faced.
It’s easy to forget that employee mental health was a significant issue before COVID. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2018/19, an alarming 44% of all work-related ill health cases were stress, anxiety, and depression-related. In the aftermath of such an unprecedented level of isolation, these figures are set to rise. By assessing your team regularly, you can become much more aware of how they’re feeling and are therefore more likely to be able to offer a more person-centred level of support.
The Hybrid Model – A New Way of Working
Working remotely has opened up the door to a new and flexible working model going forwards – the hybrid model, which combines both remote and in-office working. By adopting this model, owners and employees gain a considerable amount of freedom when it comes to working. It also provides more anxious employees with a less stressful route back to normality. They gain the much-needed space, freedom, and time to acclimatise at their own pace.
Why has the hybrid model been a success?
According to statistics gathered by Hibob HR, 42% of 1,000 surveyed full-time employees, who worked remotely during the lockdown, are now working under the hybrid model. The research went on to report that 48% of employees felt more productive when working from home, while 52% did not feel the same. These findings highlight the diverse experiences felt whilst working from home. The hybrid model, however, gives each employee the opportunity to work wherever they find themselves most productive. Whether it be at home or the office, it allows them to work to the best of their ability.
- Environmental benefits – Balancing work between the home and office means that commutes to and from work are lowered significantly. This leads to lower usage of fuel, less paperwork, and less plastic, all contributing to a happier environment.
- Less daily expenditures – Bus, train, taxi, petrol fares, and parking costs are reduced – all meaning more money is saved!
Tips for Working Effectively from Home
If working from home is going to become a part of your business’s working model, your team must be encouraged to do so as productively as possible. Here are some tips to ensure that working from home is kept as efficient as it is in the office:
Introduce a working day mindset – develop a routine, no TV in the background!
Get dressed – Make sure to get out of your pyjamas and dress as if you were going off to work
Ease into the day by taking a small walk before and after work
Create an office space behind a closed door so you can ‘leave your work behind in the office
Take breaks as if you were working in the office – don’t burn yourself out!
Keep the communication between your team flowing and set work hours for them to contact you in
Avoid avoidable distractions – Turn the TV off, hide your smartphone, keep fussing your pets to your dinner hour and keep focused!
Set a goal for the day – If you want a task completed by the end of the day, make sure it happens
Reducing the Stresses of Hybrid Working
Regardless of the benefits associated with the hybrid model, communication and employee management are still the key to a happy and productive workforce.
Digital Communication platforms
As a business working remotely, you’ll benefit from introducing a digital communications platform into your business. These services allow you to keep in touch through video calls or instant messages. Many of these platforms contain features such as screen sharing, which promotes interactivity between you and your employees.
- Microsoft Teams – Platform where you can communicate with your team, create channels so conversations are easier to find, and run your business’s day-to-day correspondence.
- Zoom – Used by remote teams to host video meetings. Meetings and calls can also be recorded if needed.
- Slack – This platform is often used as a virtual HQ. It’s used by teams to chat, share files, and integrate tools. Separate channels can be created to make communication much more focused and easier to follow.
Managing your team and keeping track of their work input is one of the biggest concerns surrounding working from home. How is it possible to manage staff with a lack of face-to-face interaction? How do I know that they’re working to their full potential? Business Doctors are partnered with Citrus HR, the virtual HR platform. This useful tool enables you as a small business owner to manage your people. Some of the features included are; lateness recording & reporting, holiday & absence self-service, staï¬€ expenses, and time tracking.
Well-being Tools – The Feel Good Factor
Having been supporting small businesses throughout COVID, Business Doctors became increasingly concerned with the new stresses that they were facing. With this in mind, our experts thought it would benefit SME owners to gain a full understanding of how their business is feeling after the last 18 months. In response, we developed the Feel Good Factor: a handful of quick questions to help you assess where you, your team, and your business currently find themselves. After finishing, you’ll receive a free personalised feel-good score and analysis. This will explore how you and your staff are feeling. You’ll also get a variety of FREE complimentary resources to help you move forward towards a happier, feel-good future.
During the current working climate, business has certainly gone beyond the numbers. Your mental wellbeing and that of your team members play a huge role in the success and overall health of your business. It’s vital that mental health isn’t overlooked as you look to move forwards together as a team.
If you would like any further information on how you can support your team or ensure that your hybrid working model is implemented successfully, please don’t hesitate to contact us here