Helping Employees

These are certainly extraordinary times.  Chances are your valuable employees are experiencing more anxiety at home and on the job. Like most companies, we are doing what we can to take action to help our teams cope with potential increased stress. We believe that by taking specific intentional actions now we might be able to help people today and create an environment to help all of us return to a less stressful  “business as usual” situation when the time comes.

Some of the things we have found to be important recently center around working closely with our management team to identify ways to keep our employees informed. Where it be for a grader in our sawmill or a lumber salesman in our corporate office, to ensure our customers continue to receive the high-quality hardwood lumber products they need to be successful, our team needs to feel comfortable. So, to do this it is important for us to keep an eye on our employees’ needs and do what we can to share information, minimize their stress, and help keep them healthy. In our efforts, our managers are finding a few certain concepts to be valuable. Maybe they will help you in some way.  DSC5992

Provide all the information you can. Try to increase your communication practices, (both formal and informal). From the top on down, everyone is encountering new realities in the workplace, and beyond. For organizations whose workforce is now working with six-foot distancing restrictions or an increased amount of telecommuters, the same principles apply. Be as clear as you can be in all your employee messaging and be ready and willing to answer questions. The more your team members hear from you the more confidence they have that you are “steady at the helm,” and doing what’s needed to keep business moving. 

Listen closely. As we have noted elsewhere, business leaders should practice the art of active listening. In order to stay apprised of your employees’ morale, “listening—rather than talking—keeps you best informed.” Do whatever you can to understand what employees are going through, or at least appoint a high-level business leader to take on the responsibility of monitoring employee morale. Social isolation is one thing but feeling cut-off from an employer generates more stress than necessary. 

Guide employees to useful resources. Your company may already have programs in place to assist employees in various areas. Remind people those programs exist and consider introducing them to others in your community. Maybe even create a quick webpage to help your employees access these resources then they are away from the worksite. 

Encourage employees to take care of themselves. Employers have a vested interest in seeing that their team members stay healthy in body and mind. Encourage them to keep their social distancing practices outside of work. Emphasize the benefits of some exercise or physical fitness routine (these days, that mostly consists of walking or working out in their homes), eat well, and get plenty of sleep.  

Finally, reaffirm your commitment to your employees’ overall well-being. In emails, videos, newsletters, or other internal forms of communications, make clear that employee health and safety is a top organizational priority. If need be, consider letting the team know you are willing to consider modifying certain deadlines or work priorities so they can deal with personal issues or unique situations with management review. 

Businesses that help employees cope with stress and anxiety during these difficult times are more likely to retain the talent they need to successfully re-emerge once the crisis has passed. 

How have you been helping employees cope during this challenging time? Let us know. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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