With the recent turn of the pandemic, more and more businesses are adapting to the ability to allow their employees to work from home. The fact that many businesses are converting their day to day operations to being able to work from home not only shows the willingness to adapt to the changing environment but also put employers and employees to test.
Isolation is one of the many factors that come into play with taking up an at-home job. For many people of an extroverted personality, this can be a tough situation to work with. The feeling of isolation from an environment can lead to stress and fear; though it’s part of human nature, we don’t necessarily always welcome change with open arms, and in the midst of the pandemic it’s only natural that we’re resistant to that change and everything that comes with it.
Back in late June, the Health Affairs journal pointed out that we’re facing a double pandemic as we’re not only facing COVID-19, but also social isolation. The need to be social and involved with other people in the form of acquaintances, friendships, and relationships is at the third stage of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (otherwise known as the stage of love and belonging). While it’s not a basic need, it is classified as both a psychological and emotional need. In fact, Maslow argued that the failure to have needs met at various stages of the hierarchy could lead to illness, particularly psychiatric illness or mental health issues.
Because of this, it’s an employer’s duty to ensure that there’s a good diversity and inclusion strategy in place, and if there isn’t one, to create one for the wellbeing of his or her employees. While ensuring that policies are in place to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace, employers can take this a step further by providing a way for the business as a whole to take part in social activities at a distance.
There are many ways to encourage a safe workplace and office culture while at home. Through D&I integration, a council can be created to develop and effectuate these different strategies. This can be in the form of providing a space where employees are comfortable enough to express their concerns, to talk and connect with each other albeit through a screen, and to participate in activities that promote the aforementioned as well as equality across all departments.
The idea behind implementing such a structure is to combat social distancing and assure that a business continues to operate at optimum levels, while still looking out for their employees.