By Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer at Employment Hero UK

As Boris confirms lockdown will last until 8th March, and the idea of homeschooling continues to overwhelm working families around the UK, it is important employers are providing extra support and care for those suffering after nearly a year of remote working.

The success of any team is everyone’s responsibility. But as a manager, it’s vital to support your team through difficult times. As we move from traditional workplaces to remote-first working, employers are legally and morally responsible for every aspect of employee wellbeing: physical, mental and financial. 

So where do managers start, when they know someone is struggling? Here are six common challenges that many of your employees could be experiencing, and how to handle them before they impact your staff’s work, wellbeing – or even their employment.

  1. Isolated 
  • Communication is key: Encourage your staff to set up social virtual check-ins with both work people and also family, friends and loved ones.
  • If their area allows it, get them to reach out to someone close by and schedule some exercise. A walk a couple of days a week with in-person company will really be impactful.
  • Talk to them about it. Getting the feeling “off your chest” will help them acknowledge the way they are feeling.
  • Don’t forget about yourself. If you are a manager, you may also be feeling lonely or isolated and that is okay. And follow these tips!
  1. Depressed
  • If someone tells you they are depressed, they need professional advice. Tell them to see their GP as soon as possible.
  • If your company provides an Employee Assistance Program, ensure they use that. There are also free resources that offer counselling and advice. Make sure your entire team is familiar with and makes the most of them.
  1. Demotivated
  • Firstly, know that this time of year a lot of people suffer from lack of motivation. It is really important to acknowledge to yourself and your team that it is okay.
  • Look to where you can inspire motivation: Is it from reviewing your company’s overall 2021 goals, and starting to set their goals to get their head back in the game?
  • Structure days to tackle projects and meetings.
  • Encourage people to be vulnerable and talk to you about it. Be ready to provide some projects to get them motivated again, as well as some good advice.
  1. Finance problems because of reduced hours or furlough
  • Make sure your team knows how to get advice where needed – managing finances can be a challenge!
  • Don’t panic: remind them that the economy will pick-up and they will get back on top of their finances.
  1. Working at home and managing kids
  • Make sure you know if your employees are managing the complexity of both learning at home for your children and your work.
  • Help them set boundaries for their children with practical advice:
    • For example: if you are in an important meeting, have a sign on your door, or the back of your computer monitor that is Do Not Disturb. Make sure your kids understand the rules.
    • Try to plan your kids’ days in time blocks for school subjects and for breaks. They get breaks at school, so make sure you factor this into their day.
    • Get creative: With the colder weather it is hard to get outside. Perhaps try some indoor craft projects to get their brains into a different frame of mind.
  • Be kind. Remind them that as a company you understand the current challenging circumstances and are there to support them.
  1. Unable to book holidays!  
  • Some tough love may be in order here, we are in a global crisis. Giving up overseas holidays should be the least of anyone’s concerns.
  • Encourage mini-breaks among your employees: You do still need to factor in breaks from work, even if it is a staycation.