Every winter is the same… the clocks go back resulting in shorter daylight hours, affecting everyone’s mood and dampening the urge to do different things after work.
This year is no different, but with the added challenge that we’re facing a second winter with some sort of restrictions and further limitations. It means that this winter, the likelihood is the impact on our workforce is likely to be greater.
Doing nothing is an option, but a workforce that has lower energy will inevitably result in a less happy work environment and in lower productivity.
So, what can we do?
In the first instance, let’s start by recognising this is an issue. Secondly – as we are all different, let’s define a plan.
This plan should give options to people to make choices that fit them best while still getting the work done effectively. It should empower everyone to look after their wellbeing – which is also recommended by Government!
The options will depend on the nature of the work. For example, office work versus operational work that requires people to be present at given times is not the same. Either way, it is about defining options.
Here are some examples:
- Office work. Employees have contracted hours. So why not apply a flexible approach with core hours everyone needs to be present so that meetings and daily business can happen? This gives employees the option to go for a lunchtime walk, or pick up the kids from school, and make up the hours at a quieter time to finish their tasks. And the chances are – they will do so faster than during normal office time.
- Shift work. Any operational or production service requires a given amount of resources to service customers and produce required volumes. In this case, a flexible approach can’t work, but there are employees who some weeks want to do more hours and others less. Why not create a mechanism where allocated portions of shifts within a defined set of parameters can be swapped?
At the same time, with flexibility comes the blurring of boundaries between work and home. It is important to encourage employees to take clear time off and have clear time at work and not dip into work here and there and through the weekend.
Of course, social contact is key to wellbeing, so within the allowable parameters of prevailing Covid restrictions, it is great to get teams together to socialise. And if this is done during worktime rather than during personal time, it shows extra commitment and concern.
These are just ideas…
What will work for a specific organisation will differ. And the best way to work out what’s best? Engage the workforce itself and 80% of what you need will quickly emerge. There are also useful Mental Health at Work resources available for a variety of roles from employees to leadership teams and for organisations of different sizes.
So here at Acceler8, we’re wishing everyone a happy and safe winter!