Organisations have responsibilities to provide a safe workplace despite the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changing the work environment.
Importantly, local governments should provide, as far as reasonably practicable, a work environment that avoids exposing staff to health risks, both physical and psychological.
Minimising workplace stress
Prolonged uncertainty and change can lead to elevated levels of stress and anxiety. As an organisation, you need to put strategies in place to reduce psychological risks to staff.
These can include:
- Keeping up to date with information from official sources.
- Communicating regularly with workers, sharing relevant information as it comes to hand and letting staff know how your local government is addressing new requirements.
- Talk to workers abiout risks to their psychological health and how these can be managed.
- Consult with workers on how work will be done differently to enable social distancing and staying safe.
- Provide workers with a point of contact to discuss concerns and keep this information in a central place.
- Allow flexibility and consider how good work design may help your staff manage workplace tasks, as well as family responsibilities.
- Be clear about entitlements that can be accessed - particularly when staff may be caring for family members or have become unwell with the virus.
- Remember workers who may be on extended leave or on workers' compensation may also need to be kept informed and understand the impact on their unique situation.
- Make a point to identify and support workers who may be at high risk of workplace psychological injury – including frontline workers or those working from home.
- Let staff know that they are not alone, the organisation will support them, and it is okay not to be okay.
- Refer workers to appropriate channels for workplace mental health and wellbeing support including Employee Assistance Programs.
Find more information here.
LGIS can provide the following workshops via video conference to support your local government with maintaining a mentally healthy workplace.
Leading during rapid change: wellbeing in the workplace
Managers in the workplace have a key role in creating a mentally healthy work environment. This workshop will provide managers with strategies and the confidence to support their employees during these uncertain times, including identifying signs of symptoms when working remotely, and how to take appropriate early intervention.
Let's talk resilience
We are needing to be resilient now more than ever! Resilience supports us to deal with and bounce back from difficult and stressful times. This one hour online seminar will provide staff with ways in which they can develop different aspects of resilience to promote positive wellbeing.