2021-Employers-urged-to-show-kindness-to-staff

Employers urged to show kindness to staff 'scarred' by lockdown

Fri, 26 Mar 2021 10:24:00 GMT
A lack of informal social engagement has increased loneliness and isolation for some staff
A lack of informal social engagement has increased loneliness and isolation for some staff

Employers have a moral duty to protect the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and create more compassionate workplaces in the wake of COVID-19, according to leading HR experts.

The pandemic will have a "substantial and real" effect on how employers treat staff in the years to come with managers now encouraged to check on the welfare of individuals and teams at regular intervals.

In an article for the journal Advances in Developing Human Resources, Dr David McGuire, of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), warns remote working has had a significant impact on the health, wellbeing, and career prospects of some employees.

For some workers, a lack of informal social engagement has increased loneliness and isolation and exacerbated mental health concerns.

Dr McGuire, Reader in Human Resource Development at GCU, said: "For many, the scars of the COVID-19 pandemic experience will have a long-term impact on their career outlook. 

"By taking an active role in safeguarding the welfare of employees, HR practitioners can help to minimise the long-term physical and psychological effects of the crisis."

Taking time to look out for employees' needs and safeguard their psychological health and wellbeing is a core responsibility of compassionate organisations."

Employers who build working environments based on care and compassion, with robust support in place for employees, are more likely to succeed in the post-pandemic world, experts predict.

Figures show lockdown has disproportionately affected women and minority communities, with 60% of key workers being women, rising to almost 80% within the health and social care sector.

Dr McGuire added: "Rhetoric suggesting that ‘we are all in this together’ reveals a lack of appreciation for the differential impact of the pandemic on diverse communities. "The pandemic has shone a stark light on workplace inequities and injustices. It is hoped that human resource practices will continue to evolve to build more sustainable, caring and healthy workplaces post-pandemic."

The article, Reshaping HRD in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Ethics of Care Approach, co-written with academics from Western Carolina University and the University of the West of Scotland, is available via Sage Journals.