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.