Gary Escott is the co-founder of SiteZone Safety, he has worked in the field of mobile plant safety for 15 years and has worked on the introduction of technology based safety products across other sectors. His goal is reducing the risk of collisions between vehicles and vulnerable persons using innovative products and technology.
How are you feeling?
One might argue that there hasn’t been much to be happy about recently – in fact, for most of 2020. The pandemic has really put a different complexion on things, from the way we look at health, to a new-found appreciation of our normal liberties to do as we like, be with whomever, when we want.
However, despite the obvious challenges, it reminds me about the importance of happiness and wellbeing in the workplace – whether that’s in the actual office, or in the home sitting at the kitchen table, as it has been for so many of us lately.
I’ve talked about mental wellbeing at work before, and I imagine I will again, because it’s a vital part of occupational health and safety. While we, here at SiteZone Safety, focus on ‘safety’, there’s no doubt that the two elements work in hand in hand. For us as a safety solutions provider, it’s about workers feeling safe in their high collision risk job, so they don’t become stressed about being hurt, or hurting someone else inadvertently on site. Working under those mental strains adds more risk to the situation, as there’s the possibility of making an error on top of the safety considerations that are inherent to the job. Stress and worry have a way of permeating all parts of your life, and if you take it home with you, it can disrupt the harmony of the household.
When speaking about feeling happy in the pandemic workplace, that’s a different matter. For us business owners, with an office-based workplace, there’s a lot of pressure to keep things afloat and as stable as possible. The survival of the business and continued employment of the team in the challenges of a hostile climate are a big deal. When you factor in new working practices like social distancing, hygienic controls, and all that COVID-19 demands of us, it dilutes some of the joy of the daily visit to work, such as it is. The sociability is more valuable to us now that it has been compromised.
That’s why trying to preserve the bond of workplace camaraderie is so important. Even though a distance has been imposed upon us, either in the company building, or virtually as we work from home, staying ‘together’ and keeping the happy buzz of the workplace alive is important. Managers need to check in on their teams more often, make sure they’re okay, and not suffering any emotional effects of ‘separation’ or feeling overwhelmed. With remote working, it’s highlighted how important it is to try and strike that balance between keeping in touch, and not micromanaging via constant video conferencing. That too can work against you and create tensions.
Also, I would say, be more transparent. Give your team a sense of collective responsibility as to what they’re working towards, what they need to do in their own roles, to help keep momentum in your business going. These are extraordinary times, so we must adapt the way we manage to keep the outfit flexible, upbeat, and agile.
If we are prepared as much as possible, with a feeling of togetherness and collaboration, maybe we can close that separation gap by keeping our teams motivated. There are so many elements in the world to make life complicated already. So, try and keep a sense of humour if at all possible. Maybe if we keep it simple, mindful, and meaningful at work, we’ll grow a better culture of accomplishment and happiness. We can do much more than we thought possible and break that barrier COVID-19 has tried to put between us all.
Have a happy day at work.
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