Feeling unsafe isn’t linear; it manifests itself in different ways for each person. Regardless of how fear hits you, it’s vital that we get, and give, the support we all need. And, as we spend most of our adult life working, having that support is especially important in the workplace.
It’s no secret that anxiety in ‘the new normal’ is on the rise. Studies show that 36% of people in the UK are feeling increased anxiety about returning to work and life as normal.
Alongside increased concern about health, employees are likely to be concerned about their personal safety too after a long time spent not commuting or being out at night. Around 33% of people in the UK say they’ve felt unwell because of stress in the workplace. The fear surrounding personal safety is undoubtedly a factor of this stress and could lead to employees missing days at work, or an overall reduction in productivity. It’s never been more important to show your employees you care.
Here, we’re sharing practical ways you can help your team feel safer – psychologically, physically and mentally.
Provide a personal safety community for your team
With more of us feeling concerned about our personal safety, it’s vital to give your team the right tools to feel more confident.
help me Angela is a personal safety community that provides a comfort blanket and reassurance to its members. There are two ways to join our community. One is by following us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. We post all sorts of content, from community support posts to personal safety tips. The other is to provide the help me Angela app to your staff, which turns their phones into personal safety devices.
It will fill your team’s minds with ease to know they have a guardian angel in the palm of their hand. help me Angela’s team of personal safety experts are there when you need us and in the background when you don’t. help me Angela can also help your company develop a personal safety policy, and amend your duty of care policies to include personal safety. To find out more, visit our website.
Communicate to increase psychological safety
A four-year study at Google showed that psychological safety is the number one predictor of team success.
To increase psychological safety among your teams, intentional communication is key. As we all stumble into a new-post-COVID-normal, it’s essential to consider how you, and your staff, might be feeling. Keep everyone in the loop. Even if the only updates are tedious or obvious, your team will absolutely want to know. It’s so easy to feel in the dark at work, so reassure your team to lift the pressure.
Simple things like updating your team on your company’s security procedures can make a big difference to their worries. Make a conscious effort to communicate – trust us, clear communication is more powerful than you may think.
Give your team a voice
Over the past year, we’ve all been through a lot. Your team needs to know that it’s okay to speak up and, most importantly, that you’re actively listening. Create pathways for feedback, conversation, and honesty. Give your team space to talk about what is truly important to them.
Staff surveys are a useful tool. You could use them to ask your team what they feel could be improved to help them feel safer, or what it is that you’re already doing that they feel is working. A more personable and direct approach, however, is sometimes more effective. You could do this by appointing an employee committee. Gather your team leaders and ask them to share how their individual teams are feeling. This takes the pressure off of individual staff, but still gives them a platform to share their thoughts.
Whatever way feels best for you and your team, the most important thing is to encourage them to speak up and be honest. Giving them a safe space to do so allows them to feel valued and heard.
Earn and extend trust
The best way to earn and extend trust is to check in with your team. It sounds simple, and it is! But it’s so easily overlooked or forgotten.
Sadly, domestic abuse cases within the workplace are on the rise, and as many of us are working from home, those in an abusive environment are suffering. Studies show that domestic abuse costs businesses £1.9 billion every year from time off work, sick leave, and decreased productivity.
help me Angela is working with EIDA – the Employers Initiative for Domestic Abuse. They believe that relationship-building is a key aspect of breaking the silence around domestic abuse. You might not spot the signs, and your employees might not feel they can talk to you about it. Earning and extending trust is crucial between you and your staff.
A great way to encourage check-ins is to ask your team how they’re doing physically and how they’re doing emotionally. Some may not feel comfortable sharing, and some will. They can say as much or as little as they like. It’s pressure-free, and you’re giving them space to air their feelings. Over time, you’ll build trust not only between you and your staff but for the team as a whole. And, as we all know, trust is invaluable. It will improve workplace well-being, make your staff feel safer and supported, and cultivate a positive work environment.
Fear will always be along for the ride. But with these tips, you can help your employees feel like they’re back in the driver’s seat. To learn more about the help me Angela Personal Safety Community, and how you can join it to help your staff feel safer, get in touch.