Firms must encourage physical and emotional resilience during lockdown

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Employers must communicate with staff about the importance of building physical and emotional resilience into their daily lives as England heads into a second national lockdown and daylight hours dwindle.

Almost four in 10 (38%) of employees have been struggling with their physical health, a poll conducted by employee engagement firm Inpulse found, while 42% were concerned about their self-awareness and resilience.

“Helping employees to be resilient emotionally and physically couldn’t be more crucial as winter approaches and lockdowns increase,” said Matt Stephens, Inpulse CEO.

“Not only are people more likely to feel the intensity of the pandemic as dark nights and clouds draw in, but more will simply find it difficult and less appealing to get the physical activity they need. Even a simple walk for fresh air and new perspective isn’t so likely to happen in cold and wet weather.”

Inpulse said the health and wellbeing of young people, especially those living in shared houses with limited personal space to work and unwind in, was of particular concern. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, more than a quarter of private single renters are still sharing accommodation by the age of 35.

Stephens said employers can help improve staff resilience and encourage healthier lifestyles by educating, facilitating and evaluating.

“They can educate employees about the importance of physical activity and impact it has on their mental or emotional wellbeing. They can also facilitate opportunities for their teams such as physical challenges of 10k steps a day, group virtual yoga classes, local walks or catching up with each other on calls while walking,” he said.

Regular pulse surveys could help employers evaluate how the workforce is feeling and see where physical and emotional health interventions could be best targeted.

Stephens added: “On top of this, employers who understand their peoples’ self-awareness are able to discuss issues in relevant ways. For example, if someone has low self-awareness, they’ll need softer and more empathetic communications, whereas those with high self-awareness can take stronger feedback and messages. Understanding this helps employers to communicate more precisely – and be heard.”

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