Global HR headlines: HSBC’s Zoom-free Fridays and Koa’s ways to measure employee wellness

Companies around the world are launching programmes to avoid Zoom fatigue and measure employee health.

In global news, HSBC is planning Zoom-free Friday afternoons for some UK staff, Singapore has again tightened measures amid a rise in Covid-19 infections, and social listening research by Koa Health has identified eight popular ways for HR and line managers to measure employee health.

Zoom-free Fridays
HSBC is planning Zoom-free Friday afternoons for some UK staff in an effort to tackle the stress caused by working from home during the pandemic, reports the BBC.

The pilot programme, which focuses on the company’s commercial banking unit, follows similar plans announced by other companies to boost employee wellbeing.

"The trial will involve a number of people committing to not setting up Zoom meetings on a Friday afternoon to allow space for other work," said a spokesperson for the bank.

The banking giant is also planning to reduce its office space by 40 percent, as part of a future of work in a post-pandemic world.

Covid workplace restrictions in Singapore
Singapore has again tightened measures amid a rise in Covid-19 infections, announcing strict restrictions for workplaces until the end of May 2021.

Employers must ensure that no more than 50 percent of employees who are able to work from home return to the workplace at any time, with the government saying that employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours while avoiding social gatherings.

Measure employee health
Employee wellness, particularly related to mental health, has escalated to the top of the priority list of HR leaders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing a once almost taboo topic into boardroom discussions.

Social listening research by Koa Health has identified a number of popular ways for HR and line managers to measure employee health, reports HR Online.

These include regular one-to-one check-ins with line managers and HR teams, use of employee assistance programmes, health apps, employee surveys and team socials.