Why it’s important to recognise EVERYONE’S extra pandemic-related effort at work

Over the last 12 months, people have been working hard, sometimes stretched to their limits, to keep going through the challenges that COVID has brought us.

Some efforts are more visible, such as the incredible work of the NHS and our local GPs to care for and protect our communities. These efforts have been recognised, particularly in the early days of the pandemic – but it is important that we never take them for granted and continue to recognise what is being done for us.

Some efforts might feel unseen, like the managers who are taking on additional work to cover for team members who need to shield or self-isolate. Or the employees trying to juggle their work alongside coping with home schooling, reassuring worried children and caring for older parents. Some staff may feel as though their efforts are going unnoticed or unappreciated and it’s important to address this.

We know too that, sometimes it may feel as though there is not enough recognition for the work that employers are putting in to keep business going and keep jobs viable. Media attention often looks to the ‘human interest’ stories of staff who are struggling, but fails to look at the pressure employers have been facing. We see you! Keep going – we’re here to support you, if needed.

All of these efforts are set against the backdrop of a long, drawn out situation. Even the most resilient of us, who may thrive in high stress situations, cannot sustain energy levels over a such a lengthy, uncertain period.

What can you do to reward colleagues?

Studies of human behaviour demonstrate that recognition can trigger the same ‘reward’ response in our brains as more tangible rewards such as a pay increase. Praise is more important to some than others, but in truth everyone needs to feel as though their efforts are being seen.

If you can, make some time to spend with staff to talk to them about how they’re managing and give positive feedback on the efforts they are making. If you have people who have really stepped up (whether happily or not so happily) to cover additional work while team members have had to stay home, let them know that it is appreciated.

Recognise that, for everyone, the ongoing uncertainty of the situation we’re in is hard. Often, when we don’t communicate with staff, they fill in the gaps in information themselves. They may be worried about what work will be like as we come out of lockdown, will it impact on their hours, the amount of work waiting for them … is their job at risk?

If you can, work on communicating with staff about how things are going within the business and how you hope the next few weeks or months might work out. Acknowledge the difficulties, reassure where you can, let them know who to talk to if they’re feeling worried or have questions.

If you know that staff are struggling with their resilience, and many are, consider whether you can support them. One option is to utilise our wellbeing and resilience services.

Another is to consider whether it will help motivate you and your staff to do something for the community, to recognise other people’s efforts. It doesn’t have to be big, but knowing that you’ve pulled together to help others may boost morale and could be great for teamwork in a time where people are homeworking and may be feeling a bit cut off from colleagues.

What have we been doing at New Dawn Resources?

In addition to our wellbeing and resilience services, and the support that we give to our clients, we have been thinking of ways that we can show a bit of recognition and appreciation in our communities.

Over the last few months, we’ve we donated presents to residents at the women and children’s refuge in Barnsley and taken treats out to our GP clients.

Domestic violence has increased during lockdown as families are under greater strain and need to access these important support services; we wanted to do our bit by giving people in need a gift to show that people care about their welfare.

Our local GP practices have been working so hard to get the vaccine out to as many patients as possible; they’re doing so much for our community behind the scenes and we wanted to let them know that it’s not gone unnoticed.

Looking forward, we want to take treats out to our vet clients who have kept going and providing services to worried pet owners through it all, and we’re planning to offer out a wellbeing and resilience service to GP practices who feel that their staff could use a boost.

They’re small gestures. Like everyone, we’re having to be conservative with our budgets, but we will continue to do what we can to recognise the work of others.

Keep going everyone – we’ll get there in th