What steps can HR managers take to ensure employees are healthy and productive?
When the news of the COVID-19 virus first appeared it didn't take long for it to have a massive impact on businesses large and small - and there are still challenges being presented to both employers and employees daily.
Businesses had to move fast and learn quickly to enable employees to work effectively from home. The discussions swiftly moved on from “what should we do if things escalate?”, to “how can we move quickly to solve this problem now?”, and the emphasis was on the technical side - with IT departments working around the clock to ensure workers were equipped to work remotely.
Employees inability to work from home was a concern for 60% of surveyed businesses
But once your IT teams have sourced laptops, mobile phones, set up video conference software, and remote access to shared documents, the human impact of working away from the office and how your teams interact will begin to emerge.
Strengthening human relations has never been more important
With enforced closure of many business premises, and the closure of schools nationwide, there is an additional layer of responsibility for home workers with the role of teacher being added to their multi-tasking list. Working from home, and the distance from co-workers normally a desk away can cause uncertainty, and such changes can cause general anxiety for employees isolated from each other.
63% of employers cited general anxiety as their organisation's main challenge
In fact, the latest People Management and CIPD survey, which polled over 390 employers, found nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents cited general anxiety as their organisation’s main challenge currently.
As employees settle into a new way of working remotely and achieve a work-life balance while working from home there will be challenges presented to your HR team, so what can you do to maintain business continuity?
Challenges for your HR team
- Keeping employee productivity at normal levels - enable remote working or flexible working wherever possible.
- Supporting employee mental health – communicate with employees regularly, facilitate counselling and encourage social activities via the online office groups.
- Answer employees’ questions - Facilitate any guidance OR support for professional issues that might create bottlenecks as employees don’t have their usual network accessible
- Maintaining business continuity - allowing homeworking prevents the spread if illness, so you have more employees able to work.
How can a document management system help?
The government has stepped in to alleviate many of the financial concerns for employees with grants and schemes for covering lost wages, but can technology step up to address some of the anxieties of those working from home?
Some of the ways digital working can help:
- Easily share documents with teams and individuals
- Create an employee portal for clear communications
- Provide an online location to view changing HR policy
- Keep employees informed to reduce anxieties
- Manage digital social events and meetings
Recent studies have concluded that video conferences where users can see each other’s faces are registered by the brain in the same way as a physical face to face meeting, with expressions and visual triggers aiding communication. We’ve seen some inventive and new ways to use this technology in recent weeks, with some businesses starting lunch time chats, yoga mornings and ‘ask a question’ support groups to keep employees connected.
When used with your document management system, this new digital way of working can lower employee anxieties, streamline and improve processes, and reduce errors typically found with paper documents, email attachments and shared folders.
Contact me via the form here, or give the team a call on 0118 951 9800.
Document management product specialist
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