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What can small businesses do to promote employee health and wellbeing?
In recent years, there’s been a huge growth in the appreciation of wellbeing at a personal and business level. Now, with COVID-19 making a global impact, it is more important than ever that businesses and individuals are aware of their responsibilities. If your team are working from home, this is the perfect time to set-up a few wellbeing initiatives. They needn’t cost any money and the benefits will be felt by you and your team. Here are some of the ways small businesses can encourage employee wellbeing during these unusual times.
Keep a structure
Maintaining some form of structure for your team throughout the working week can pay dividends for wellbeing. Setting and sticking to fixed working hours allows for designated downtime but means work will still be completed. This avoids overwork or a slump in letting productivity when your business environment moves from the office to the home.
It’s also important to look beyond actual office hours. For example, if you use your commuting time to listen to podcasts, make your way through a reading list, or simply relax before your day kicks off, factor that time into your day before you start tackling work.
Encourage everyone to set regular breaks so they keep refreshed and on task. You may have already noticed that your day is no longer broken up by small breaks catching up with colleagues over a cup of tea. Losing this downtime might sound like a more efficient way to work, but these moments are important. They allow you to approach activities with a fresh perspective and can result in more creative responses to tasks.
While you’re working from home, don’t miss out on the routine of a walk first thing, lunchtime exercise, or a training session after work. Including these actions in your day will prevent lethargy and keep you motivated. Just remember to practice social distancing when you are out and about.
Exercise needn’t be a solo activity either. Why not boost team and business morale by doing it together? This could involve taking part in a zoom exercise class together, setting up a running challenge through Strava to see who can rack up the most miles during the week, or an extended 30-day challenge. These group efforts boost motivation and are a fantastic opportunity for social interaction — something that most of us are missing right now.
Socialise at a distance
Maintaining social interaction at a 2 metre distance can be challenging, but thankfully there are a whole range of apps that can help with this to keep everyone engaged.
Organising daily or weekly catch ups can help be a good way to share ideas for the business, and inspiration from the wider market or simply enjoy each other’s company. As naturally sociable beings, enforced distancing can be challenging. Staying connected through quizzes, team games, and impromptu chats can work wonders for morale.
You could try the prebuilt games of the Houseparty app or put together your own quiz by asking each team member to write the questions for one round. It’s a great way to discover what everyone is knowledgeable and passionate about.
Small business owners hold some responsibility for the wellbeing of their staff at any time. Right now, this may include dealing with money or health worries as well as adjusting to some level of social isolation. Let your team know that you are available to talk about any concerns and be ready to signpost support from organisations such as Mind for issues around mental health and Frank for information, support and advice around drugs and alcohol. You could even sign up to a free online course in mental health first aid.
As you work hard to support your team, remember that your own wellbeing is equally important. If you’re struggling, seek support from friends, family or the organisations listed above. Don’t suffer in silence. Lead your team by example and make it clear that we’re all in this together.
We hope you found this post on employee health and wellbeing useful. The QuickBooks blog covers a wide range of business-related topics – it’s all part of our mission to support small businesses.