The resurgence of COVID-19 and the strain it has caused on the economy can seem intimidating to a lot of small business owners who are currently struggling to stay afloat. If you’re a business owner or manager, there’s a lot you can do individually to support your office staff and maintain a positive and healthy work environment to keep motivation levels up, thereby ensuring that your business can not only sustain itself during such a period, but even be profitable. Research has indicated that ‘happy’ employees are more likely to be productive, efficient and determined. It is also shown that employees who believe that their employers care about them, have been shown to be more engaged at work.
As part of our vision to help New Zealand’s small businesses, we are outlining a few ways for you as a business owner to help build a supportive work environment during these times and thereby boosting your employee’s mental well-being:
- Pick-up the perks: Its always prudent to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and hence a good incentive would be to offer your employees regular health benefits such as a monthly massage, a gym membership, or even counselling sessions. This will not only ensure that your employees are healthy, but also happy and more engaged. It’s important to note here that you’ll have to pay fringe benefit tax on any non-cash benefits to staff unless it meets of the exemptions such as being provided on site or falling under the $300 per employee/ per quarter exemption. If you’d like more information on FBT, feel free to reach out to us.
- Still working from home?: Make sure that you check in on your employees regularly, to ensure that they are doing well. Isolation can be stressful for a lot of people, and checking in on your employees, can positively reinforce your support towards them.
- Spread the word about 1737: Let your staff know about the free and professional counselling that is available round the clock for anyone dealing with stress, anxiety or depression. The 1737 number and services are absolutely free for anyone living in New Zealand. Any time any of your staff or employees are feeling anxious and stressed they can call or text the helpline services to avail any professional advice, which might help them overcome these obstacles.
- Leading by example: As the boss, a lot of your employees will be looking to you, to lead the way. It is hence necessary for you to remain calm, empathetic and compassionate, to understand the needs of your employees better, and thereby foster a stronger professional and personal relationship with them.
- Write a policy: Looking after your staff, no matter what they’re going through, is really important. Put together a mental health and wellbeing policy that outlines how you will support employees who experience mental health challenges, and outline that they will always be treated fairly. For tips on how to put a policy together, read the Working Well Guide at mentalhealth.org.nz. This should help reinforce a sense of confidence in your employees, and will help them in being more vocal about any of the challenges or issues they may be facing.
- Creating a list of goals: Helping your employees with making a list at the start of your day, can really help in giving them direction to focus on the tasks at hand. Categorise bigger tasks into sections, which lets them check every task one by one as the day progresses, while also keeping you updated on the status. Checking things off your list also helps in keeping you motivated and focussed towards your end goal.
- Make sure your employees are not socially isolated: Encourage your employees to be in touch with friends and family, which can be can be a real stress-buster for them. By letting them talk to people, they will have the opportunity to process the events of the day, and receive support. It will also help them lighten their burden, and feel more relaxed.
- Go for a walk: Exercise can be a great way to clear your mind from any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing at the time. A breath of fresh air will also help you feel more focussed, and will reduce the stress that isolation maybe causing, not to mention the additional health benefits of exercising. Encourage your employees to take exercise breaks, so they feel more relaxed and ready to focus on work.
- Take Breaks: It’s easy for a lot of us to get caught up in our work, and forget to take our breaks, and sometimes we just simply end up eating lunch at our work desks. However, breaks are as important as the work you do. Letting yourself rest and reset will help boost your productivity and efficiency levels, and will help you be more focussed when you return. Make sure your employees are taking breaks and are well rested.
These tips should help to cut down on the stress caused to your business by the COVID-19 resurgence. If there are any other issues that your business may be facing, you can reach out to our team at JZR by mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on +64-9-972-2236.
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