Caring for each other

26 Mar 2020
Robert Perry, Manager, Sustainable Leadership, Sustainable Business Council

People are at the heart of what we do - our community of SBC members, your teams, frontline staff, your customers and the communities you operate in. Things have moved fast over the last week, and stress levels are high.

Our actions now will have echoes over the coming weeks and months. This is a challenge unlike any we have ever faced, but we will tackle it with our collective spirit. When life returns to normal, what will people remember? Hopefully that we did the right things, and we did them well.

So we start with caring for each other. What is your workplace doing to care for its staff and their whānau?

Keeping everyone in work

Due to the lockdown, many companies will be facing difficult decisions, or in the worst case, contemplating redundancies. This is always a daunting prospect, and even more so now. There is government support in place for individuals and businesses to keep staff employed, available on the MBIE website and we encourage you to seek it out. BusinessNZ also has a suite of resources for business, including an advice line.

SBC members are leading the way. Z Energy will pay staff who are sick or who need to self-isolate for as long as is needed. And The Warehouse Group will pay all staff in full for the duration of the lockdown.

This truly is a time for kindness. Whatever businesses can do to keep staff or to manage the process with empathy and respect will go a long way to laying the foundations for recovery.

On the front lines

We acknowledge those people working in essential services – including healthcare, food supply and transport – who are still carrying on in their usual workplaces. You are our heroes right now. We applaud those businesses who have moved swiftly to keep their staff and customers safe.

Countdown implemented contactless deliveries early, and are working on ways to give elderly and vulnerable customers priority for online shopping. And Unilever has provided detailed guidance for staff on hygiene.

Working remotely while staying connected

We’ll have more tips for working remotely in coming articles. But staying connected will be key.

To start with, there will be a settling-down period. Don’t expect everyone to be 100% productive straightaway, be kind to yourselves and take it easy. For some people it might be a dream come true, but others will miss the sense of belonging, camaraderie, and learning that comes from being surrounded by your teammates.

If you’re a team leader or manager, make sure your staff know how to get support if they are feeling stressed or anxious.

Vodafone has launched a daily check in to keep their people & their families safe. If anyone isn’t feeling great then they get directed to a mental health professional who will help.

Porter Novelli have provided some tips on communicating through uncertainty, which apply to your staff just as much as your external audiences.

HRNZ Strategic Partner Cornerstone OnDemand are sharing their free training on:

  • Preventing infection and control
  • Promoting self-care and managing stress
  • Helping people be productive while working from home.

More resources

The Mental Health Foundation for NZ have some great practical guides and resources.

Mindfulness for your everyday life

The global resilience hub has a set of practical tools and resources to build the resilience of individuals, workplaces, organisations and schools.

More on SBC and Covid-19

By Robert Perry, Manager, Sustainable Leadership