Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, Service Director for the NPWS has written a short blog about organisations wellbeing response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 – Blue Light Wellbeing 

In this short blog I’ll provide some food for thought on how we can walk the talk on wellbeing whilst responding to a global pandemic.

Lesson 1 – Staff engagement is everything 

If we accept that most organisations struggle to listen and respond to their people’s concerns then a pandemic will amplify the challenge. If you have invested in multiple channels of engagement that are business as usual this will help bust myths, reassure folk you are listening and most importantly…you care. 

If you haven’t then trying to put them in place fast enough to keep pace with the uncertainty and volatility a crisis like this brings will be doubly hard. But not impossible. Commit time, attention and resource to getting this right above all else or you will see trust levels dropping further and discretionary effort being removed. Be 100% honest with your people if you don’t have the answer. In a crisis sometimes there are no perfect answers.

Lesson 2 – Know your stuff, your staff and yourself.

STUFF: Line managers need to be proactive in finding out what the facts are, particularly in relation to policies about things like self-isolation and how this is handled in reality. If line managers are confused so is everyone else. They need to know what advice to give their people and if their organisation isn’t giving them this clarity then jump up and down until you get it. 

STAFF: We all need to understand what this means for the staff we work closest to. Have they got health condition with low immunity? Do they care for someone who has? What are they really worried about? I’ve done this with my immediate team and made sure they know I’m looking out for them and options are available. Personalise it. 

SELF: Recognise you are facing a sustained period of additional work and personal stress. There is a high likelihood your health will be affected at some point. Accept that these worries are normal in a crisis and start thinking about how you are going to manage your own resilience and mental health. Be bold about lifestyle changes and be proud of yourself for being sensible. Feel good about contributing to keeping yourself, your colleagues, your family and your community as healthy as possible. Fast forward to when this is over and think about how you responded looking back. Stockpiling toilet rolls won’t look like such a good call.

Lesson 3 – Social networks are vital

Inside work and outside work our social networks are integral to our wellbeing. In a crisis pay more attention to them not less. Reach out to offer help and be brave enough to ask for help. Inevitably there will be small minority of people who take advantage of a crisis and you’ll probably know who they are going to be. Be 100% clear on how committed you are to those you care about and that includes your work colleagues.