ONE year on from the coronavirus outbreak, health and well-being in the workplace is more Important than ever, says Dave Meredith from Oldham legal practice Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers.
‘HEY there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim, swim.’ ……..So argues Dory in Finding Nemo, the Pixar classic movie and in 2020, keeping swimming is what businesses have had to do. To extend the metaphor, the alternative was to sink without a trace.
Keeping staff motivated has been a challenge for every employer during the pandemic lockdown and, like many firms, Pearson has strived to look after staff during this time of monumental challenge and change.
The previous year, firm’s detailed survey of staff highlighted a number of areas which needed attention to improve the business and working environment for everyone. Among the feedback was that well-being and mental health were matters to which we needed pay more attention and understand better.
When the first lockdown hit in March 2020 a great deal of media attention was given to well-being and the affect that working from home and not interacting with work colleagues was having on peoples’ health.
Conscious of this, Pearson signed up with a specialist company to conduct a further staff survey specifically in relation to their mental health, stress and well-being. This led to a series of webinars on well-being related subjects.
It’s always difficult to gauge the best approach in these areas, when webinar attendance is low is it because staff are ok and have no issues, do they not like to share how they feel? Or are they reluctant to come forward as they think attendance of these seminars may be seen as a weakness by their colleagues and management?
In fact, nothing of which could be further from the truth. Continuing support saw the firm sign up to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), a complete support network offering expert advice and compassionate guidance covering a wide range of issues. The idea is to offer not only reactive support when someone but proactive and preventative benefits to deliver the best possible outcomes.
The service is available to staff and their immediate family members 24 hours a day, seven days a week including:
• Life support: Unlimited access to counselling for emotional problems and a pathway to structured telephone counselling or face-to-face counselling sessions (employees only);
• Legal information: For any issues that cause anxiety or distress including debt management, accountancy, lawsuits, consumer disputes, property or neighbour legalities (employees only);
• Bereavement support: Provision of qualified and experienced counsellors who can help with grief and related stress plus a team of advisers to help with legal issues;
• Medical information: Qualified nurses are on hand to offer advice on a range of medical or health related issues – they can’t diagnose but can offer a sympathetic ear and practical information and advice;
• CBT online: a range of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy self-help modules, informative fact-sheets and advice videos from leading qualified counsellors.
There is even a handy smartphone app which includes a weekly mood checker, mini health checks and four weekly plans towards a healthier lifestyle.
As the service is entirely confidential the firm is not aware which of our staff are engaged, however a number of them have expressed their appreciation for us making it available – so hopefully it is working for some.
As an employer of more than 70 staff locally we believe that understanding them and how they are feeling and coping has never been more important. In the workplace we will always look out for each other and encourage people to shout up if they are struggling and we hope that the additional, confidential support we are providing through the EAP will reinforce this support.
…keeping staff motivated is a challenge
If you want to become part of the Pearson team there are a number of job opportunities available, check out our vacancies www. pearsonlegal.co.uk/site/about/recruitment/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org