1st April 2020
Maintaining wellbeing while working from home
Julie Chell, Chief People Officer, highlights how we're supporting our people's wellbeing
In my last post I shared some examples of the support we offer to our Civica colleagues to protect their mental, physical and financial wellbeing. As a global business it’s really important that our health and wellbeing strategy remains inclusive and addresses the varied and ever changing expectations and needs of our people. In light of the recent pandemic, health and wellbeing counts more than ever before. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, we’re all human and all facing new and unexpected challenges, such as juggling childcare, providing support for elderly/vulnerable relatives or neighbours, and adjusting to new routines. And, as if that wasn’t enough, we’re bombarded by a constant stream of news that continues to fuel our state of mind - heightening our emotions and causing anxiety, confusion and a state of flux. You’d have to be superhuman not to feel a bit overwhelmed right now.
Our Executive Leadership Team is committed to finding practical ways of supporting colleagues across the Group so they can quickly and effectively adapt to a dramatically different working environment for the foreseeable future, and to ensuring that they have the opportunity to still thrive and maintain a positive state of mind. Here are just five initiatives that we’re currently championing at Civica:
Mental Health Champions
Our trained Mental Health Champions really appreciate the impact that the current climate is having on people’s mental health, and we’re actively encouraging them to proactively reach out to colleagues and be virtually visible and available. We’ve also given them some simple but useful information on helping people to reframe the current situation, encouraging people to focus on what they can control, rather than what they can’t. For example, changing “I’m stuck at home” to “I’m safe at home and helping to keep others safe too”; instead of “I’ll get ill” thinking “By keeping a social distance and washing my hands regularly I can keep as healthy as possible”. We also continue to encourage colleagues to leverage our comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
Training, support and guidance
Whilst Civica has been promoting homeworking for years, for some colleagues it can bring lots of challenges, whether that’s practically in terms of their workspace and technology, or in terms of motivation and time-management. We’ve run a series of webinars and support groups over recent weeks to help our colleagues get to grips with homeworking, including managing virtual teams. The sessions have included supporting colleagues in developing healthy habits such as creating a schedule, keeping active and the importance of regularly interacting with others. We’ve got many more sessions planned on a variety of useful topics and all of the face to face training we were planning to deliver through our Civica Academy, will still take place, just virtually!
Our leaders genuinely care about their people. They continue to regularly reach out to every member of their team so they fully appreciate their personal circumstances. Understanding individual demands and what support people need to help them to continue to enjoy their work is extremely important. This includes setting clear expectations, agreeing how to communicate, exploring the need for flexibility and giving lots of regular feedback. We also appreciate the impact of managing virtual teams on our leaders and are providing leadership coaching to support them.
As well as individual leaders interacting with their teams, we realise that the current situation puts us all in unchartered waters. We’re used to being able to get a sense of how people are feeling in our different facilities through ad-hoc conversations. As we’re currently unable to do this, we’re rolling out regular ‘pulse’ surveys to understand the issues that our people face around the globe, so we can proactively and quickly improve things before it’s too late. We want all our people to feel important, valued and visible, even if they can’t be seen.
A sense of purpose is also really important for wellbeing. At Civica we’re really lucky - our work makes a huge difference to individuals and communities around the globe. We’re currently supporting our clients through some very difficult times which gives everyone in our business a huge sense of purpose and pride - and is certainly something to smile about.
These are some of the things that we’re doing here at Civica to help us through the current crisis and I’m confident, they’ll serve us well for the future - whatever that brings.