Come and hear about how HR should help employees to cope with today’s new stresses.
CHRO South Africa will this week be hosting a webinar in partnership with Alexander Forbes about employee wellness and how companies can do more for their people in the wake of Covid-19.
Given the hybrid approach of online-integrated workplaces in the post-Covid-19 era, employees are people confronted many conflicting challenges, balancing work and home life at home, playing multiple different roles of parent, colleague, cook, friend, boss, spouse and housekeeper.
On Wednesday 21 October, Alexander Forbes Health head of health management solutions Myrna Sachs will outline the role that HR has to play in assisting employees to cope with the confusion, frustration, alienation and in many cases, depression, that has resulted from this new world of work. Furthermore, the fact that the line between work and home has become so blurred, employees must be protected from burnout.
“Increased productivity has increased the risk of burnout and employee pursue a work-life balance. If we are to continue with the best of work-from-home, while still trying to be our best selves at work and at home, that balance has to be achieved and sustained, and it’s the job of HR to actively support employees in getting there,” says Myrna, adding that the aim of any health and wellness strategy is to create a more productive workforce by offering wellness programmes that improve absenteeism rates, presenteeism factors, illness and productivity in the workplace.
It is also important to provide emotional support through available employee assistance programme interventions or arranging a one-off session with a clinician.
“In looking after our employees’ psychological and emotional needs, we should remember that everyone has had a different experience of lockdown and will all have different needs on returning to the workplace,”
In order to protect the mental health of the employees in a post-Covid-19 world, Myrna says communication and transparency are key, not only when it comes to providing information on the occupational health and safety measures but also with regard to gathering information from employees about their fears and concerns.
“Within organisations, the direct line manager is often ideally placed to identify any challenges employees may be experiencing. Absenteeism, presenteeism, changes in work performance, changes in attitudes are often directly experienced by the line manager. Training and equipping line managers within the organisation is recommended to assist in managing the mental health of the employees,” says Myrna.
From a physical wellness perspective, Myrna says musculoskeletal injuries are one of the most commonly observed workplace injuries and have been on the rise due to people working from home.
Says Myrna: “Discomfort surveys can assist in identifying potential repetitive strain disorders that may be developing in the employees’ home environment. Employees should be provided with articles with information in relation to setting up of equipment available at home or using household items if the equipment is not available, poster reminders of how to achieve and maintain neutral positioning and they must be allowed frequent short breaks away from the employee’s workstation. Challenges, where employees take pictures of their workstations and share with colleagues or remote ergonomic consultations, are ways of mitigating risks associated with musculoskeletal injuries”.
Join Wednesday’s webinar to hear more about the new normal, which Myrna describes as an ongoing design process.