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COVID-19 continues to create additional stress and strain on all of us, as we navigate our work and lives in the new normal.

Asian woman in high viz wearing a medical mask in a warehouse

These actions have been designed for workplace leaders, managers and supervisors to help you build a safe, strong and resilient workplace.

Your workm8tes are your most important asset. Safeguard their wellbeing and at the same time the health of your business by creating a stress-free, safe and thriving workplace with high psychosocial safety.

Get on the front foot. Take action and safeguard your m8tes by talking about it, staying in the know, and connecting with your workm8tes.

1. Talk about it

Honest, open communication creates trust. Trust builds strength, personal safety and connection. Which is just what your workm8tes need now.

Take a look at the communication toolbox designed to help you communicate with impact with your m8tes.

Check-in with your m8tes

Workers are worried about their own health and safety and that of their families and loved ones.

Not feeling safe at work increases workm8te stress. Workers that are able to better control their work environment, and when and how they do their work have lower levels of stress.

It is important to check-in with each of your workm8tes both as a team and on their own to make sure they are feeling comfortable with the workplace’s approach to COVID safety.

Check out the guide we’ve developed for you on checking in with your m8tes.

Share the plan

Be clear, transparent and as honest as you can about the workplace’s approach to COVID safety and workplace and worker responsibilities. Due to the frequent changes and needing to adapt quickly in the past, there may be resistance to some of the new changes. Workers may be fragile, fatigued by the many changes, or still uncertain about the future. Maintaining active and open communication with your workm8tes helps to reduce the uncertainty and change fatigue.

Your workm8tes prefer face-to-face communication, so be sure to raise this at your first toolbox or team meeting. It is important to also check-in individually as some workers may not feel safe raising concerns in front of their co-workers.

  1. Directly ask for comments and feedback on your proposed COVID-safe plan.

  2. Seek agreement on the approach, checking if it is reasonable, do workers feel more should be done, or are changes to the plan are needed.

  3. Make sure everyone knows what is going on. Follow-up with written communication, via email, or on the noticeboard, include when you will be reviewing and updating the proposed approach, and contact details of who to speak to if they have an issue.

Design solutions together

Involve your workm8tes in thinking about how you continue to conduct business in a changed world.

Long lasting and more impactful change comes from involving your workm8tes in designing new solutions and processes.

We’ve developed a guide to help you lead collaborative problem solving and co-design with your workm8tes.

Be honest about job security

The economy has been a hot topic for the last three years, and this can lead to workers feeling uncertain about their job security.

Nip rumours immediately. But be honest. If you don’t know the answer find out.

Don’t leave them hanging - be sure to close the loop with workm8tes, if you say you will come back to them about something, do it.

Get some pointers on how to close the loop with your m8tes.

Know what to do when COVID hits

Have a clearly communicated process for when a workm8te gets COVID.

Make sure workm8tes know who to contact and that there is a clear internal process for notification. While they are away it is important to stay in contact to make sure they are ok, especially if you know they live alone.

Go the extra mile and volunteer to drop off a meal – only if it is ok with them and is safe for you to do so. Make sure work is re-allocated while your workm8te is away. It is not good to come back to a huge pile of work. And this will help to prevent ill m8tes coming back to work before they are 100%.

M8tes at risk

Infographic of a stressed man

Keep an eye on your at risk workm8tes. Those that are carers, have children, elderly parents, or are in poor health.

Check-in with them regularly. Reduce performance expectations and be mindful of making additional requests of them such as working overtime or taking on a new challenging piece of work.

Know how to spot the signs of a stressed M8 and what to do about it.

2. Be in the know and stay relevant

Know what works and what doesn’t.

If something isn’t working don’t force it. It will do more harm than good in the long run.

Adjust your approach and try something else.

Success comes from finding something that is the best fit and makes a positive difference.

No two workplaces are the same. You need to find the solutions that suit your workm8tes and your workplace.

Keep talking about it

Keep the conversation going. Regularly review the workplace’s approach and don’t be scared to make changes to how you are doing things.

Your workm8tes are best placed to tell you what is and isn’t working.

So ask them. Both in team meetings and individually.

Make sure the job is right

COVID has changed how we work, some roles may have changed since 2020. Some workm8tes may have different responsibilities than two years ago, a bit of scope creep or maybe they have more time on their hands.

Not many of your workm8tes have been able to work from home. Be mindful of inequality between office workers who may enjoy continued flexible or hybrid work locations and those that are not able to. It isn’t a case of one size fits all. Forcing everyone back into the office isn’t going to solve anything. But being open and honest about different work arrangements and open to feedback will go a long way toward making your workm8tes feel valued and listened too.

Take the time to review jobs and make sure to design good and challenging jobs for your workm8tes.

Your workers may have enjoyed working different hours, having different break times, while others have missed socialising in the lunchroom.

Find out what changes your workm8tes want to keep and what needs to change to create a challenging and rewarding job that meet the needs of your worker and workplace. Use our online job design evaluation tool to see how well designed your jobs are and get a prioritised list of actions to make them better.

Be open to suggestions

The physical work environment has a huge impact on our wellbeing. Workplaces that are messy, untidy or run down can be dangerous to worker safety but also increase stress.

Workers are best placed to see what isn’t working and suggest improvements.

So ask them.

You may be surprised by their suggestions.

To start the ball rolling some suggestions are: different break times, working different hours, increased airflow, improved air filtration or access to fresh air, additional barriers or screens between workstations, spacing out workstations, flexible shifts to minimise the number of workers on the floor, creating more outdoor break out spaces.

Keep it current

Don’t have outdated practices. It sends the message that you do not take the situation seriously and that you don’t value your workm8tes safety.

Review current arrangements as Government advice changes, and each month check-in with your workers to make sure you continue to meet their needs or if anything needs to be changed.

3. Support and connect

This is more than positive workplace relationships. It is about taking a genuine interest in and caring about your workers and who they are as people and their wellbeing.

Social connection and support are essential for creating stress-free, safe and high-performing teams. Shared experiences help build social connections between team8tes – and connected team8tes are supported team8tes.

Resolve issues immediately

Secondary anxiety is on the rise.

Your team8tes will all have different levels of risk tolerance. This can quickly turn into a point of conflict – especially when we are talking about our health.

Be aware of and increase in secondary anxiety or conflict between workers as a result of some workers not following the agreed COVID-safe practices.

Workm8tes who don’t follow the agreed COVID-safe practices are a risk to themselves, your workm8tes, and their families. Behaviours such as not wearing a mask properly, coming to work with a sniffle, standing too close, or poor hand washing hygiene, can lead to an increase in secondary stress in your workm8tes making them feel out of control, vulnerable and not valued.

For everyone’s safety a zero-tolerance approach is needed. It is best to address these situations as soon as they arise, and in private. It’s a good idea to seek to understand poor behaviours rather than punish - as chances are the worker involved probably just forgot.

Follow the guide we’ve made for you on how to have difficult workplace conversations.

(re)Build connections

We’ve all missed each other. Make up for lost time and help build lasting friendships through social connections.

Take care to do it the right way - COVID-safe of course! But we really mean do social activities that are inclusive and respond to the strengths of your workm8tes. Consider shutting down early on a Friday before a long-weekend and encourage your workm8tes to use the time to get outside and enjoy a hobby and spend time with loved ones.

Not sure where to start? We’ve put together some pointers on how to get the most of connecting with your workm8tes.

Make health a priority

Our health is now more than ever a priority.

There are a few easy actions we can take to improve the health of our workm8tes.

Come together and get moving.

Lunchtime sport, walking meetings and encouraging workm8tes to get away from their workstation and stretch their legs are all easy ways to get a bit more movement into the day.

Eat well.

Banish those COVID-kilos.

Eating well can be a challenge, especially for m8tes on nightshift.

Have healthy food available in vending machines and in the canteen, and plenty of fridge space and a well-stocked kitchen for m8tes to bring their own.

Make it easy for your m8tes to prioritise their health and protect those around them.

  • Consider making rapid antigen tests (RATs) available to workers.

  • Do not penalise workers who are unwell. This will only encourage workers to come to work sick.

  • Have additional paid time off for workers to get vaccinated, and to take their children or person they care for to get vaccinated.

  • Role model the right behaviours. Senior leaders and supervisors should never push through when unwell. If you do then it sets the tone for your workers and makes it harder for them to feel ok about taking time off when unwell.

It starts with you

Create better outcomes for your work and workm8tes.

We’ve got the tools for you to create a stress-free, safe and thriving workplace.

These tools are informed by extensive research and designed by workers in manufacturing to support you and your workm8tes.

For Senior Management

& HR/WHS Managers

For Supervisors

& Direct Managers

It all starts with you.

Change comes from the top.

Visible commitment from senior management, HR and work, health and safety managers is key to creating a thriving, safe and productive workplace.

Your actions set the tone of what is to follow.

Own your responsibilities and create a safe and productive workforce.

Know what you have to do, and get the resources to help you deliver.

It's in your hands.

You are the most important influencer of your workm8tes' wellbeing and performance. You have a key role in preventing work-related stress - as you have the greatest impact on their day-to-day wellbeing, and you are in the best position to notice when a workm8te might be struggling.

Big responsibility sure, but you don't need big shoulders for this one.

You have all the tools you need to master this right here.

Together we've got this.

Take action & make an impact

Everyday actions poster of easy actions that all leaders should do

Short on time? It doesn't take much time and effort to make an impact.

We've put together a useful list of everyday actions that benefit you, your workm8tes and your workplace so you can start making a difference today.



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