As we come up on the three-month anniversary of lockdown and commence a gradual return to the workplace, it is interesting to see how a new culture of everyday living has emerged for those still working remotely. For some, returning to the office is still not feasible or the employer has decided to carry on like this for awhile or permanently.
HRprimed has been consistently providing information, guiding and advising employers on the rise of substance abuse, domestic abuse and mental health issues with employees during the pandemic. These have been linked to the transition to working remotely as well as a reaction to the uncertainty for COVID 19 itself. The risk, the impact and what employers can do to address these have been what HRprimed has provided.
A less talked about component, although substance abuse is related, is the abandonment of everyday activities for hygiene, self-care and preparing as if we were going to work.
Specifically, we are seeing the following;
- Not shaving ( we see the COVID 19 beards and this also relates to women not shaving)
- Day drinking (related to rise of substance abuse)
- Not showering/bathing or doing this late
- Poor diet decisions or not eating at all
- No exercise
- Lack of time management and organization for work and home OR Working more as that is all person has to focus on
There are likely a few more components however these are the more prominent behaviours that are being noticed.
The impact of this can be significant especially as we get back to work and the office. Those employers who are continuing with stay at home for longer or on a permanent basis need to be aware and take steps to address as professionalism working remotely becomes an expectation. We are also addressing employee wellness in focusing attention on the COVID Culture. While these behaviours may have been accepted early on, with the continuing uncertainty of when individuals will be back in the office, if ever, it is important to communicate with employees on maintaining (or returning) to a normalcy of regular activities and expectations.
So, employers must encourage your employees to start their day as if they were going into work, challenge them to maintain a routine of what they would do if in the office. Some employees have challenges of children at home or spouses or pets. These are easily akin to changes which crop up in the workplace and are met by employees, nothing really works as planned all the time.
This is another part of the journey during our adaptability to the new normal. At his point in the journey it would be wise for employers to start implementing communications and resources to get stop the adoption of COVID Culture.