Communications is Paramount in a Successful Return to Work
We’ve now entered Phase 3 of reopening as coronavirus lockdowns are lifted, including returning to work. But rather than feel relief, many are experiencing increased anxiety at the thought of entering the office. With one in five U.S adults experiencing mental illness each year, the added anxiety of returning to work has only further agitated an individual’s mental well being. As such, the critical role of communications in a successful Phase 3 is paramount. The best practices we’ve seen across our client base have all emphasized listening to employees and their concerns, creating clear communication pathways, and focusing on mental health. Not only has Highwire implemented these best practices, but many of the smart brands we represent have as well. Here are some examples of how our clients are addressing the uncertainties of returning to work.
Boston-based virtual primary care provider, Firefly Health, recently launched its Return to Work Support Service. Through partnerships with MA-based businesses, Firefly Health is helping employers navigate statewide return-to-work standards, and is supporting employees as they deal with the stressors of returning to in-office life. As shared in a recent Forbes article, Andy Ellner, CEO and co-founder of Firefly Health, agrees that, “now more than ever employers need to step up to help their employees develop and protect boundaries for personal and family time and ensure easy access to care and, ideally, proactive screening for mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.”
Galvanize, a cloud-based security, risk management, compliance and audit software company, also acted swiftly to help customers better understand the pandemic’s impact on their business. Galvanize’s COVID-19 Toolkit was developed to enable risk management experts to navigate risk, business continuity and communications at a time when there is no playbook. In a recent article for Treasury & Risk, Galvanize’s Chief People Officer Keith Cerny explained we should rely on data to determine when and how to return to the office. Galvanize’s solution is key for providing visibility into the data that matters most.
Here at Highwire, we continue to put our employees’ mental health and safety first with a keen focus on providing coping strategies and support during this uncertain time. Through the implementation of “Mindful Monday” missives that contain thought starters and helpful reminders, virtually guided meditation practice on Tuesdays, reminding our employees to continue to use suggested tools to help reduce stress and anxiety, and encouraging mental health days to avoid burnout, we are better positioned to embrace a return to the office or whatever unexpected challenges the year brings.
While Phase 3 is promising progress and life may just be evolving to a new “normal,” employers still must be diligent about ensuring clear communication pathways with employees and listening to their needs for ongoing support. What are some of the strategies your company is introducing as we all return to work? Share below!