Antony Platt, Omnicell UK&I HR Business Partner, discusses how we have supported colleagues during COVID-19
During these unprecedented times, Omnicell UK&I, like many other organisations, have had to make some significant changes to the way we work. Although we had pandemic plans in place and were well prepared for COVID-19, as with all businesses the pace at which the changes were required did create challenges for us.
Employees working in the office have now moved to working from home and changed the way they work on a day to day basis. Our teams which are in the field and warehouse are now having to cope with the very real anxiety related to the potential risk of infection from COVID-19 in their day to day work.
Such change and sustained levels of anxiety has a huge potential to be detrimental to employee mental health and we have worked hard to be proactive in putting in place several initiatives to support our employees.
Keeping our employees informed
At the start of the pandemic, we were conscious that some of our employees may be feeling overwhelmed. We put together a pandemic team who have met regularly since the start of the pandemic to keep up to date. We have also focused our communications to provide regular up-to-date information.
One of the sources we signposted our employees to was a Pandemic Information Page on our intranet. This is a site which employees can access all the information and advice they need to support them in one place. Information on the site includes our Covid-19 weekly update; managers guide to manage remote employees; IT work from home readiness; health and safety advice, including PPE guidance and risk assessments; and information and advice on settling into new ways of working.
We also set up an email inbox where employees can send any questions or concerns that can be dealt with individually, recognising the importance of getting back to people quickly with advice and support and that individuals react to situations in different ways and therefore need tailored support.
Supporting employee’s health & wellbeing
Our employee engagement programme (Better Programme) has played a vital role in keeping up two-way communication so everyone’s voice can be heard. We have been meeting regularly and getting feedback and input into decisions.
In our communications we have provided advice on how to settle into new routines (particularly for those that were working from home for the first time). This includes use of learning modules through Omnicell University our learning and development platform, Omnicell University and also through interactive lunch and learn sessions.
We have provided advice and support for frontline staff around PPE, including donning and doffing advice and an easy reference guide so people can see at a glance what they need.
We also have initiatives in place like a comprehensive employee assistance programme, mental health first aiders and campaigns to proactively support good mental health and employee benefits to support work life balance.
Well-being initiatives geared to staying physically and mentally healthy at home have been implemented like virtual fitness classes. Other activities such as cooking, gardening and step challenges will also be taking place over the coming months. We have also recently set-up a cycle to work scheme further encouraging employee health and wellbeing.
As an appreciation for the hard work and dedication our employees were given a gift of personal time, whereby we were all given a day off to spend as we would like.
Connecting with people and maintaining relationships with work colleagues is very important for mental wellbeing. We have been encouraging employees to use video calls rather than just the phone so they can see a friendly face.
Using technology in new and innovative ways has been important to us, not just for meetings but to be more social, allowing for those “water cooler” and touch base moments. We have hosted new-starter virtual get togethers, team quizzes and morale boosting “brew time” where teams have non-work time chats to keep in touch.
We have made use of Slack, our communication tool, to ensure the remote teams stay connected whilst also having some fun and laughter at work.
During this time, we also launched our Employee Engagement Survey. A platform which gives our employees a voice to give opinions on key areas and provides an opportunity for us to improve and grow stronger and ensure that we continue to support our employees.
We have teamed up with Bright Funds, our charitable giving partner and platform provider, to empower all Omnicell employees to help in the pandemic emergency. If employees give to one of our designated COVID-19 campaign charities, Omnicell will match charitable contributions up to $50,000 as part of Omnicell’s COVID-19 fundraising campaign.
We’re proud of the action we have taken to protect the health of our employees and our communities. That will remain our top priority as we work through the unknowns of the coming months.
We can all be proud of our role in continuing to provide world-class services over this exceptionally challenging time. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I know that we’re going to get through this, together.