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Our Duty of Care as an Employer

Posted by Tom Eagle

Mental health and employee wellbeing has been a popular topic for many employers over recent years. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that as employers we are acting and making positive change, not just discussing the subject.

The last few months since the UK government announced ‘lockdown’ have proved challenging for all as we acclimatise to working from home full time and the usual office environment becomes a distant memory. I, like many others, have been used to the energetic and loud environment that comes with working in recruitment, at a firm with a strong team culture where we ‘bounce’ off our colleagues. As a management team, we are learning to appreciate that this working environment is difficult to replicate when working from home, meaning we have a duty of care to ensure our employees' wellbeing is our top priority.

I have been encouraging our teams to consider the below as part of their daily activities:

1. Exercise

Don't just sit in your house or flat all day staring at a screen! For many, your daily routine would involve a visit to the gym or some form of exercise before, during or after work. With the gym now off limits, make sure you plan accordingly and include some form of exercise, whether it be a run, cycle or walk. This will not only keep you active but provide a chance to clear your head and get away from your workstation.

2. Routine

Our daily routine will have changed considerably - no longer are we getting on the train, tube, or fighting our way through the usual hustle and bustle of London life. We are no longer having breakfast and lunch with our colleagues, or having a chat over a Friday beer. Our usual routines have been altered but it is essential we maintain a routine, albeit a new one.

Do not work from your sofa or worse still, your bed! Try and create a similar workspace to your usual office environment - a quiet, dedicated area where you can work. There are obviously more distractions when working from home, so take yourself away from these as much as possible.

Little things, such as your waking up at your usual time rather than laying in. Use the extra time to exercise, have a relaxed breakfast, read or plan your day. Dress appropriately for the day ahead and avoid sitting in pyjamas. Get up, shower and dress for the day to ensure you are in the right state of mind.

3. Interaction

We all love talking to our colleagues - whether we are discussing last nights dinner choice, latest Netflix binge watch or the football scores, we all enjoy that daily interaction and socialising. It is essential we do not lose that when working in isolation! Here at Pro-Group, we have daily video team chats where we can interact and discuss our plans for the day ahead, which ensures we keep our team spirit and energy levels high. Use the technology available, whether it be Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom, to keep regular face-to-face interaction and avoid sole reliance on email.

These are just a few small pieces of advice to ensure we keep active, both physically and mentally, and ensure we maintain a healthy wellbeing. It is still unknown how long this current situation will continue, so encouraging our employees to put their wellbeing and mental health first must be our priority.

If anyone has any comments or would like to discuss further, then please get in touch with Tom Eagle on 020 7269 6349 or tom.eagle@pro-finance.co.uk.

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