Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 32

W

hether you view stay-athome orders as the "Great
Pause" or the longest
intermission ever, most of
you and your employees have been working from
home. For many of us, this is new. The worldwide
COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized how we
spend our time. Long commutes are distant memories along with gym visits, water-cooler chats,
medical appointments, and salon visits.
As the leader of your workforce, you can help
employees navigate the current challenges, whatever those may be. They may very well be different
for each individual.
"The goal is to help at-home workers understand that staying physically and emotionally
healthy benefits them, and not just the company's
'bottom line,'" says James Jackson, Psy.D., psychologist and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt
University Medical Center. "If people understand
that health-promoting programs and policies are
actually for their growth, they will experience them
as positive. They will find that adherence to them-
far from being demanding-is desirable."
It is extremely important for employers to strive
to maintain as much normalcy as possible for their
employees at this time, says Brian Wind, Ph.D.,
founder and CEO of NOVOS Behavioral Health
Solutions. No matter where everyone is working
from, continuing to encourage deadlines, conference calls, and an overall sense of stability can be
tremendously beneficial. People can easily become
unmotivated, especially if they aren't used to
working from home, he says. Giving them specific
responsibilities can help.
In other words, even though there's physical distance between you and your staff, it's still important
that all of you spend time together.
Connect With Your Employees
Jackson explains that although regular technology-​
enabled meetings keep teams connected, the most
important way to promote community and connections is to assist employees in finding shared meaning
in the work they do. Help staff embrace the idea that
they are working together for a larger purpose; they
all have a role to play, and the team suffers if they
don't play that role.

32 Mobility | May 2020

Even for teams that were remote prior to the
pandemic, it is common to see companies not placing
enough effort into making their staff feel connected,
says Brittany Ferri, an occupational therapist in
Rochester, New York. 
"Planning group video calls to hear and see
co-workers can really help lighten the mood,"
notes Ferri. "This can also calm some employees
worried that other staff are mad at them, etc.,
since reading text and email conversations all day
can easily be misinterpreted, especially if we are
feeling tired or sensitive."
Not everything has to be focused on work. Take
time to share good news such as births, birthdays,
anniversaries, and milestones. Encourage employees
to show off their pets or reveal their home offices
to give others tips and inspiration, Ferri says. Staff
might plan fun group activities for short breaks
throughout the day, such as group yoga, guided meditation, or playing a short game together. Also encourage your staff to get up and move around frequently
during working hours.
Support Your Team's Well-being
Jackson says promoting both physical health and
mental health is vitally important but perhaps never
more than now.
"Optimal physical and mental health contributes
to better stress management, greater levels of resilience, better cognitive functioning, and ultimately
more productivity," explains Jackson. "Creating a
climate where employees can attend to and honor
physical and mental health isn't just a feature of
the manager's job during difficult times-in many
ways it is the job."
This can be accomplished by employers being
intentional-creating resources that employees can
access, modeling the importance of this in your own
life, and incentivizing participation in programs that
promote wellness, Jackson says. 
Ferri cautions employers to be cognizant of
employees who are taking excessive time off, displaying drastic changes in productivity, expressing
significant dissatisfaction with working at home, and
are increasingly unreachable throughout the workday. Take extra measures to reach out to them to talk
about their workspace, health activities, and the state
of their emotional health. All of this should be done



Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition

Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - Cover1
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - Cover2
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 1
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 2
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 3
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 4
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Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 31
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 32
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Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 38
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 39
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 40
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 41
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 42
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 43
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 44
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 45
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - 46
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - Cover3
Mobility - May 2020 - Special Covid-19 Edition - Cover4
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