Managing Essential Workers

Managing a workforce through the current demanding situation is challenging, whether working from home or in a Council setting and we have teams of essential workers turning up every day to provide services to the community.


What can managers do to support the well-being of their front line teams as we work our way through these troubling times?

Here are some tips for you to think about:

  • Communicate with your staff
    • Hold a small pre-brief at the beginning and end of the day. Employees see their employer as a credible source of information and managers play a critical role in disseminating information and providing whatever assurances they can.
    • Ensure you get your facts for briefings from a reliable source e.g. Public Health Scotland
  • Ensure people get the basics - breaks, facilities, days off
  • Wherever possible rotate people from high stress areas to low stress areas.
  • Partner inexperienced workers with more experienced colleagues, especially if working with people who have volunteered from other areas.
  • Promote peer support - while we all have to observe social distancing guidelines we can still talk to colleagues, encourage your team members to talk.
  • Employees may be feeling stressed - this is no reflection on their ability to do their job or an indication that they are weak - however they may need reassurance that you appreciate this.
  • Encourage staff to look after their mental health and well-being. Looking after our mental health is as important as managing our physical health.
  • Advise colleagues of the assist available to support the mental wellbeing.

Remember to look after your own health and well-being.

  • This is likely to be a marathon - pace yourself and encourage your team to do likewise
  • Recognise that in times of high pressure it may take longer to think things through if you feel overwhelmed. Be kind to yourself.
  • STOP, BREATH then think - slowing your breathing slows the stress cycle - then you can think.
  • Avoid unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs
  • Stay connected to your loved ones - you need contacts 'outside' work

Effective communication is critical and providing communication up-dates are key. As a manager you may be thinking ahead, it is important to remember your staff are thinking about the here and now.