The Covid-19 lockdown affected businesses in a multitude of ways. Fortunately the construction industry was not impacted as severely as some sectors. Ground & Water’s HR manager, Sandra Young says, new ways of working have resulted in a closer knit and stronger team.
Since March, the world of work has been thrown into chaos, with everyone being affected to some degree. Employers were put in the spotlight, with many being judged on how they treated staff during lockdown. Indeed, a recent People Management article suggested this could be the most frequently asked question prospective employees will ask potential employers, during interviews in 2021.
While employers are beginning to sit up and take notice of the importance of mental health, there remains a lot of work to be done. Just as Covid-19 has opened up the discussion regarding workplace flexibility and working from home, it stands to do the same for conversations around mental health and the part employers must play.
For Ground & Water, the importance of the health and well-being of the team has always been a high priority, in-fact our highest. How can you expect a team to thrive and be productive, if they aren’t at their best? It’s simple, you can’t and if you want your team and your business to succeed then the well-being of those driving the business must be top of the agenda.
Not only is it morally the right thing to do, but it just makes good business sense. According to the CIPD Health and Wellbeing at Work Report 2020, stress and poor mental wellbeing are among the leading causes of absence and presenteeism, costing employers £millions in wasted revenue, not to mention the personal cost to those not receiving the support they really need.
CIPD Health and Wellbeing at Work Report 2020
We like to think we are pretty on the ball, so when lockdown hit we were already in the position that home working was something the majority of us were already set up to do. Some quick thinking from the IT department ensured everyone had the ability to ‘tune in and Zoom in’, allowing us to continue delivering a great service, regardless of location. We were already doing regular 1-2-1 well-being chats; they simply moved from the workplace to peoples’ homes.
All of us, up and down the UK, were struggling with what was going on. There was so much uncertainty and being unable to socialise fully with family and friends took its toll. We wanted to make sure that none of our team were struggling without the social support and safety net that the workplace offers. We are a tight knit team, so adapting to what for some amounted to solitary confinement was a challenge we needed to overcome. We held a variety of events to keep the team connected, including weekly video team get-togethers, delivering pizzas to everyone’s home addresses and virtual quiz’s (us and the rest of the country!). We were lucky that very few staff members were furloughed during lockdown, but for those who were, we ensured we communicated with them too. Just because they weren’t working ,didn’t mean they were no longer part of the Ground & Water work family and this was vital to ensuring they felt they remained valued.
We have found we are more connected as a result of the pandemic. It has pushed forward conversations. Suddenly ‘how are you?’ became a genuine question. We listened to the answer as very often that answer wasn’t the customary ‘fine, thanks’. We have seen inside each other’s homes, met each other’s children (and pets) and have got to know each other that little bit better.
Despite the hurdles, we have fared well and we put that down to how close we genuinely are as a team. We work hard to build those meaningful relationships and make sure our people know they are supported and can come to us with any problems they may be facing. Anything less would be a disservice to our team and ultimately Ground & Water.