We are now once again under the toughest restrictions nine months after the first national lockdown, with non-essential businesses having been advised to close. Working from home is back in place if you can, and individuals have been advised not to leave home for anything except essential purposes.

This time the lockdown is much clearer for employers, stating employees can only go to work if working from home is classed as “unreasonable”. We are much more prepared than we were when the first lockdown was announced and certainly feel that tech has now been put in place ready for the repeat restrictions, with video meetings continuing as much as possible.

Prioritising Employee Wellbeing During the Lockdown

Employee wellbeing is, as always, absolutely paramount, and we must take into account that flexibility is needed as parents will be hugely affected by school closures. So, now more than ever businesses in the short term need to show support and ease some pressures on individuals and not run the risk of burnout and stress. In the previous lockdown, many companies had staff working in access of 60+ hours a week from home resulting in widespread demotivation and anxiety, we must ensure this does not happen again.

As a collective, we need to learn from the last lockdown and provide each employee with a way to work that best suits their own situations for the short or long term. As part of this, the government have also indicated that furlough is eligible for staff with childcare responsibilities who find it very difficult and or are unable to work if businesses wish to use this.

Maintaining Working Relationships

In order to prioritise employee wellbeing and maintain working relationships with colleagues during this challenging time, employers and managerial staff need to be as supportive and as flexible as possible whilst maintaining good communication throughout the teams to make sure staff feel reassured. This is vital to keep staff motivated and valued in these times, with these basics in place we should thrive more than the first lockdown. Among other new considerations, businesses now must also consider the working areas at home. Risk assessments will still need to be put in place, so should making sure you have the right work-from-home policies for your team.

At times like these, many businesses find HR processes and services invaluable to leading the way forward for a supportive, remote working process. Human resources services ensure clarity around company processes and work to safeguard both employees and employers from the new problems that can arise from the current climate.

If you are a business that does not have a HR department and would like more information on how our HR services can help, then please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options.