COVID-19: Managing employee wellbeing after reopening

As businesses start to return to work as usual, you might have made some significant changes in your business that you and your people are still getting to grips with- from new working patterns ito deciding who to bring back from furlough or even make redundant and so much more.

After you’ve made those big decisions, you might feel like the outcome is as best as it can be under the current circumstances, but how do your employees feel about everything?

How your employees have been affected by the pandemic

COVID-19 has been the huge curveball of 2020 and has massively affected business owners and their people. Before the pandemic, 1 in 6.8 people were already experiencing mental health problems in the workplace.

Coronavirus has now changed the working landscape significantly. People are facing growing financial uncertainty, questions that aren’t easy to answer, and anxiety about the future. Research shows that over two thirds of adults in the UK expressed concerns about how COVID-19 will have an impact on their life.

As their employer, they’ll turn to you for your support and it’s important that you prove to them that you’re there if, and when they need you. A healthy mind is paramount for a productive and engaged workforce. Do you know how your employees are feeling and what state their mental wellbeing is in? Do you take the necessary steps to make sure your people have the right support when they need it?

Where to start when it comes to supporting your people

It’s important that you emphasise to your people that there’s no stigma around discussing mental health, and instead you should promote it and clearly communicate that you’re there to support your people all the time and not just when things are difficult.

This can be a big task so you should train your managers to be able to have those sensitive conversations with your employees as well, and you can offer your support and time to your managers in personal one-to-ones.

HR support

How you can support your people

There are a lot of options for you to look at when supporting your staff, and sometimes the simplest gesture can go a long way. It’s important you analyse how much help your staff need so you’re able to provide them with the right level of support. Here are a few examples of what you can do to motivate and help your employees:

Take a look at your culture

  • Set aside daily or weekly time for you and your employee to have a one-on-one during work time.
  • Make sure your people are aware that they can be honest and open with you.
  • Allow your employees to develop their skills through training and online, so they know their development is important to you.
  • Consider a phased return to work to ease the shift of working from home/furlough, to returning to the workplace.
  • Pay attention to any changes in their behaviour, mood, work output, focus or motivation.
  • Provide your employees with more positive and constructive feedback so they know how they can develop.
  • Promote positive wellbeing strategies outside of work through things like exercise, meditation and healthy eating for example. It’s not just about when things go wrong
  • Keep connected with employees who are working remotely by having open, honest, and regular communication whether it’s a phone call, video chat or text – make sure you’re not just firing off lots of emails that may go unread.
  • Celebrate your employee’s achievements, whether they’re personal or professional.

Supporting your managers

  • Consider training for your managers so they know what signs to look for if someone on their team is struggling and how to handle any difficult conversations.
  • Take their feedback on board and show them that you’re open to suggestions, so they feel involved.
  • Offer them opportunities to attend courses, webinars, and workshops on how best to manage their teams’ wellbeing.
  • Regularly communicate with them - they have the difficult job of supporting employees and they might well need some support too.
  • Make sure you celebrate their wins – and encourage them to do the same with their own teams.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Supporting your employees during work time is crucial to maintain a happy and motivated workforce, but there are some uncertainties which you might not be able to reassure them of.

They may have bigger problems on their mind – like financial and legal questions which they might not feel comfortable discussing with you.

Teaming up with Bupa, we can provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that gives confidential answers to the most pressing questions around financial, legal, mental health and wellbeing matters, especially in these worrying times.

It means you can support your people around the clock when it matters most.

With our EAP service your employees will get:

  • Over the phone support from a team of qualified counsellors available 24/7, so they’re never alone during difficult times.
  • Advice and support for issues such as bereavement, financial, legal, stress, anxiety, domestic violence and much more.
  • Unlimited access to online health and wellbeing videos, articles, and tools to educate and guide employees to self-manage their condition.
  • Useful engagement material to help promote the service within your business even if you’re working from home.


For more information about our Employee Assistance Programme, head here.

Citation can help at every step of the way

These are challenging times, especially for employees, business owners and employers. Our team of HR and Employment Law experts provide you with the latest government news to help you work through this difficult period.

If you’re a client of ours already, you can call our free advice line on 0345 844 4848 where we’ll be able to offer our support to you 24/7.

If you’re not yet a client of ours and you want the advice and backing of a team of HR and Employment Law experts feel free to give our team a call on 0345 844 1111 to talk through your business needs. Or, simply fill out your details in the form opposite and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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