Monitoring the Impact of Covid-19 on Employee Wellbeing
Silvergate Plastics has continued to remain fully operational throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst this provides some sense of sustainability, the management team is fully aware of the importance of monitoring and supporting employee wellbeing at this unprecedented time.
As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, Sandy Bergeson reflects on what the pandemic means in real terms for her staff:
“It’s clear that unpredictability is going to be part of our new norm; Covid-19 has not disappeared and remains a global problem. This uncertainty continues to disrupt our daily lives and companies like ours must do what we can to support our employees.
“Employee wellbeing throughout the industry may well have taken a knock. The last few months have been exhausting and here at Silvergate, we’re keen to continue offering flexibility and understanding to minimise the impact of the virus on our team’s wellbeing and mental health.”
Widespread concerns are increasing about the effects of living through a pandemic may have on mental wellbeing. The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in major disruptions to life at home and in the workplace to which everyone has had to adapt. Sandy continues:
“Like all businesses, we have had to adjust our working arrangements not only to accommodate social distancing measures but to meet the needs of individual employees. Some members of staff are shielding whilst others are having to homeschool their children. We are encouraging our staff to maintain a healthy work life balance. We’ve had to be flexible to ensure everyone is able to manage whatever challenges they are facing.
Fortunately, we have never adopted a ‘traditional way of thinking’ and this is evident in the way our staff have responded to the pandemic. We are very busy; our workload has dramatically increased as a result of the virus, as manufacturers are having to order large quantities of raw materials to keep up with demand. Whilst our working environment has been disrupted, our lean operating practices have come into their own. We are aware, however, that the increased workload and new safeguarding measures could take their toll on wellbeing and morale.”
To maintain business continuity, Silvergate has set up virtual communications with its home workers that not only focus on the work in hand but offer an opportunity to create a sense of camaraderie amongst employees. Sandy believes this is helping everyone to cope with the current situation:
“Whilst the situation continues to evolve, we’re aware that remote working might be here to stay. The virus isn’t going anywhere and we're currently assessing how we will operate these roles in the coming months. Communicating with transparency is key but it’s also important that our employees know that the situation is constantly changing.”
From the very outset of the outbreak, Silvergate has continued to invest in PPE to offer employees some peace of mind. The manufacturing facility is configured so that technicians are stationed at a safe distance from each other. Sandy comments:
“Having a spacious layout was one of the reasons we stayed open. We've also been able to stagger the teams we've had onsite. We continue to assess the situation to ensure our employees feel safe and confident in their roles.
“Whether our teams have been working onsite or from home, my aim is to maintain a culture where everyone has a voice. Our work family is critical to our ability to survive this pandemic. I understand that for people working in different roles and levels, the pressures vary. However, everyone’s concerns are taken seriously and with compassion. We will continue to work with our staff to understand how this has impacted their lives and the ways we can support them. My door is always open.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every member of staff for their continued efforts in ensuring we remain fully operational at this time of uncertainty. Our onsite technicians have been amazing; without their commitment we would not have been able to contribute to supporting the frontline efforts working to combat Covid-19. I also commend our employees who are working from home; thank you for managing our orders and diligently responding to our customers’ needs. I can’t wait for the day we can all see each other when we are able to fully embrace our new normal.”
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