How to safeguard employees’ wellbeing during COVID-19

From anxiety about the ongoing health crisis, to fear of commuting on busy trains, to feelings of isolation when conducting business from home, many workers are facing unexpected challenges with their mental well-being amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and needing support while at their jobs. As a result, employers are now pursuing a renewed focus on the mental well-being of their employees.

It is vital that organisations implement ways to support physical and mental health and make decisions regarding the new workplace culture directed by considerations of employee wellbeing.


Creating an agile working culture that can accommodate personal insecurity and uncertainty will help employees adjust to different work settings, and aid those returning to the workplace reintegrate into the physical workforce at a pace that feels comfortable rather than stressful. This will be especially vital for employees whose domestic situation has been significantly affected by the pandemic.


It is also vital that your staff feel comfortable acknowledging the anxiety rather than pressured to continue as they did before the crisis. Make sure they are aware of the resources they can access both in the office and out. If your business has an employee assistance programme or access to occupational health advisers, encourage employees to use these as much as they need, with no stigma or pressure.


Resuming business as we know it will take time and adjustment — it will be a drawn-out process conducted in stages, and part of ensuring staff remains calm, healthy and happy will be a comprehensive re-orientation or re-induction process.

Managers need to have a sensitive discussion with every employee that focuses on health, safety and well-being and allows them to ask for any ongoing support they may need to facilitate work in these unprecedented, ever-changing times.

Transparency and consistency

Let your staff know you understand that it is an anxious time. Make sure they know where they stand with leave, pay and other factors that can cause anxiety when unclear. For those returning to the offices, make the physical workplace a safe, hygienic place to be, and ensure that all new regulations, standards and practices are consistent and easy to understand and follow.

Finally, consider robust practical strategies such as:

  • Creating a dedicated planning and implementation team 
  • Risk assessments 
  • Screening
  • Personal protective equipment if appropriate
  • Additional relevant training 
  • Regular, transparent premises reviews
  • Future planning

Which will help to dispel employee anxiety by demonstrating that the situation is in good hands.