Bushfires have been burning for months, causing devastation on a national level. The ongoing crisis has destroyed towns and communities, with many businesses and thousands of homes ruined. Tragically some people have lost their lives and our treasured wildlife is continuing to suffer immensely. A sense of loss and sadness can be felt worldwide, and those impacted by the fires face many challenges ahead as they rebuild their lives.
Just as you may need to make important decisions for your business in response to the bushfires, employees may need time off to volunteer or assess damage to their homes. They may have trouble getting to work or need to support family members living in high risk areas. A disaster recovery plan can help to clearly outline your options and obligations. If you are yet to implement one, ask us for advice.
Workplace well-being during a crisis
Such a large-scale natural disaster can negatively affect morale and the psychological well-being of employees. If your team is feeling the strain, there are some ways in which you can help.
Employees concerned about or impacted by the bushfires could be struggling with stress or anxiety. Displaying an open and approachable disposition can help, and prevent employees from suffering in silence. If performance has dropped, start a conversation in private to find out more, and if the employee is in need of emotional support.
Team fundraising can be a great way to boost morale and give back to the community at the same time. Organising a fundraiser to support the bushfire relief efforts allows employees to work together for a good cause. Some organisations for consideration include the Australian Red Cross, Foodbank and WWF (Worldwide Fund for nature). Just be sure to choose an activity that everyone can join in with if they wish, and one that isn’t too disruptive to daily work.
You have a legal obligation to protect the physical and mental health of employees at work. Whilst fundraising can help some to feel like they are making a difference, others may still need someone to talk to if the bushfire crisis has affected their mental well-being. Beyond instigating a conversation, if you suspect that some additional support would be well received, there are employee counselling services that you can consider.
4. Flexible working
Flexible work arrangements can help to alleviate some of the stress experienced during a natural disaster, and allow employees to continue working. If it can work for your business, try introducing this to make life a little easier for those struggling.
Call us if you need further HR advice
If your business or employees have been affected by the bushfires and you would like further advice on your people management, call us today. Our advice is insured, and we’ll tell you what you can do rather than what you can’t.