Ensuring employees feel supported after the summer holidays

As the summer holiday season starts to wind down, and September work and personal plans ramp up, it’s important for employers to be aware of how the shift can impact their employees and how best to support them in and out of the workplace. 

Here, Adrian Matthews, Head of Employee Benefits at MetLife UK shares his three top tips for supporting all employees after the peak summer period:

1. Be vigilant and listen 

By implementig regular check ins, both in-person and virtually, employers can be sure they are listening to the challenges of their teams more closely and can help to nip potential issues in the bud sooner. Dialling up two-way communication is key in busy periods. 

When employees return to work, it is equally as important to make sure they are not overwhelmed by the work they are coming back to. Setting up a structure whereby colleagues are briefed on their return (either by video call, or face to face) on any key updates, can alleviate the overwhelming feeling many of us get when returning to a full inbox. This can go a long way to lessen the likeliness of feeling stressed immediately after returning. Allowing greater flexibility on their first day back to catch up with progress and emails can mentally be very important.

2. Stepping outside of your office 

With the Q4 year end countdown just around the corner, September is usually a busier month for many which often coincides with the last of the summer weather. Employers should actively encourage employees to get outside and introduce movement into each day. Intervals of breaks throughout the day should be recommended by employers, whether working remotely or in the office, as it can make a huge impact on an employee’s wellbeing and productivity. 

Where appropriate, remote working employees should be encouraged to sit outside to enjoy their lunch, workout in the garden or exercise outside when they would usually do their commute to work to create a healthy work life balance. For those working in the office, walking can be a great way to alleviate stress and improve physical symptoms including neck, back and shoulder aches. Encouraging more walking meetings and time away from screens can also build increased engagement whilst also benefitting their health. 

3. Employee benefit packages are key

Signposting your employee assistance programme (EAP) is imperative all year-round, however as employees trickle back into the office from the high of summer this can be a great time to remind team members of key resources that are available and how to access them, depending on their personal needs. These can range from counselling to financial wellbeing support. 

It’s important for employers to highlight that these services aren’t just there for when things go wrong, but to proactively support with guidance and help with the day to day to prevent them becoming bigger worries and challenges.