25 May 2020

Updated 10 March 2021

Due to the prolonged coronavirus situation, workplaces need to consider processes and work methods that enable both remote and in-person work to go as smoothly as possible. It is important to take care of the mental well-being and recovery of employees in both remote and in-person work.

Employee

Take care of your mental well-being

  • The coronavirus has impacted the work of all people in one way or another. These times create new needs, but they also enable working and enabling well-being in new ways at the workplace, at home and in other places where people work.
  • It is important that your workload is appropriate and you are capable of recovering from work. An employee who is fully recovered from stress gets more done, is proactive and learns new things. However, work that demands too little of the employee and is repetitive can also be stressful.
  • Take care of your own recovery during your time off and take regular breaks during the working day. You can affect your own well-being with exercise. Go for a walk, for example. A change of scenery will perk you up and exercise is refreshing and reduces stress. Try to stick to a healthy overall lifestyle as it promotes recovery.
  • Engaging in activities that you personally have chosen, that are unrelated to your work and that you find important helps recovery. Other important ways to enable recovery from work is finding ways to relax that suit you, learning new skills and spending time with people close to you.
  • If you feel that your workload is too much or if you require support for developing your skills, for example, discuss the situation with your supervisor to find ways to reduce your workload.
  • If you feel worried or overwhelmed, think about what makes you especially worried in this situation. Breaking the worry down into individual concrete things can make you feel more in control when you start processing the things one by one.
  • Try to identify the things you can affect. For example, you can make plans for your own work or for the summer vacation. Restricting your own life due to the coronavirus may feel unfair and paralysing. Stay active and try to concentrate on doing what you can instead of dwelling on the situation.
  • Keep track of your own coping and, if necessary, seek expert help at your workplace or from occupational health care. Also, utilise self-care instructions, such as Mielenterveystalo (in Finnish).

Take care of each other in the work community

  • If you work remotely a lot, make an effort to connect with your colleagues and supervisor daily by telephone or some other means of remote communication. Try to define clear objectives and schedules for your work and regularly ask for feedback on your work.
  • You can sometimes talk about more than just business in teleconferences. You can even have virtual morning coffee breaks together! Engage everyone in the work community in considering ways of managing workload, strengthening a sense of community and enabling everyone to work smoothly.
  • Share your concerns with your colleagues or your loved ones because a shared worry is easier to bear. If you have good tips, such as preventing boredom in remote work, share them with others. Keep in contact with your social networks by electronic means or meet during outdoor activities.
  • Follow the information and instructions provided by your own organization and the bulletins released by the authorities, such as thl.fi. See also the coronavirus and work guidelines (FIOH).

Supervisor

Consider all of your employees, make sure work progresses and enable well-being

  • Take into account the policies and guidelines given by your organization’s management. It is important to not issue contradicting instructions at the workplace.
  • Make sure that everyone’s work tasks have been sorted out and that it is clear what the work objectives are.
  • Discuss what it means to prepare for the coronavirus situation at your workplace and how you should act in the changed situation.
  • Highlight the vision and shared goals of the workplace and promote the resources for meaningful work in order to strengthen the sense of community in the workplace. Make sure that the outlook for the future remains clear.
  • When possible, be in regular contact with your employees and give them permission to contact you even on more trivial matters. Aim to take into account the employees’ different living conditions and family situations: consider young employees and those who live alone.
  • Track the well-being and safety of your employees. Remember to ask how people are doing and to ensure that information reaches everyone in a timely fashion.
  • Unusual behaviour by an employee may be a sign of overload. Prolonged stress causes varying symptoms in different people. If you are worried about an individual employee’s ability to cope, act according to the early care model of your workplace. Show that you care and want to help.

Take care of your own well-being as well

  • The limitations on going to work, the changes in working practices and the rearrangements of work caused by coronavirus are exceptional in the national and even in the international situation.
  • In an exceptional situation, the supervisor has to take care of many different matters and new processes in addition to the smooth progress of work during normal working days. Make sure that there is an adequate number of breaks during the working day and that your working days do not become too long.  Take care of your own recovery and make sure that you receive support as well.

See also:

Guidelines to support remote work (in Finnish)

Tips for good sleep and recovering from work (in Finnish)

A workplace with a good mood – a toolkit for the supervisor (in Finnish)  

Guidelines to support remote work

For more information, please contact viestinta@ttl.fi

The guidelines of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) are drawn up together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (SMAH) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. We also follow the publications of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), COVID-19

World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus