bpost is a company in the midst of a huge transformation. That’s only been accentuated by the exceptional period we are experiencing together at the moment. A period in which wave was followed by wave, characterized, by turns, by strict lockdowns, rollbacks and new prospects. That these changes have a big impact on employees is unavoidable.
So it’s vital that we focus our concerns on the wellbeing of our teams, now more than ever. As head of the Psychosocial Prevention department at bpost I’m happy to share my insights, ideas and plans for the future.
At bpost we approach wellbeing holistically. All physical, mental and psychological aspects are considered. So, a healthy mind and body as the cornerstone of job satisfaction. As an employer we want to adapt the work to the person and we constantly analyse the risks. That enables us to take preventive action in a timely way, with due consideration for the techniques used, the organization of the work, the conditions, working relationships and other factors at work.
Thanks to our in-house team of psychologists and social assistants we are also able to work on this actively and proactively. I think this is something we can be justifiably proud of (and less modest about). Few companies have an in-house team of independent confidential counsellors bound by professional secrecy and able to prioritize employee wellbeing.
We do a huge amount around wellbeing, but it’s not easy to get the message across in a big company like bpost. Not all employees know how to contact the wellbeing department. That’s why, last year, we started a roadshow through the various bpost business units and departments.
This roadshow takes the form of wellbeing webinars. We’ve already shared wellbeing at work insights and tips on the new way of working, remote working, ergonomics, remote leadership and so on with the colleagues at retail, distribution, finance, corporate and HR. Bite-sized.
Four tips for effective remote team leadership
- Embrace flexibility: working remotely means that employees are better able to plan the time they spend on work, family and leisure etc, to suit their personal situation. Accept that not everyone in your team works at the same pace.
- Identify challenges: make your team members aware of the typical challenges that come with remote working, such as the lack of collaboration and communication, loneliness, an inability to switch off from work and greater susceptibility to distraction. It is your responsibility to make these challenges known so that they can be addressed in good time.
- Provide clarity about goals, priorities and tasks: people who work in their own bubble every day can find it hard to keep the big picture in mind. Make sure your team knows what you’re working towards. Identify the key priorities and daily tasks too, so that everyone knows what they have to do.
- Maintain communication: host a weekly team meeting that everyone attends with camera on to stay in contact with each other. Also keep communication lines open and ensure that your team members can always reach you.
As well as the wellbeing webinars we are also launching a stress and burnout awareness campaign. bpost pursues an intensive wellbeing policy to help people deal with stress and in doing so improve wellbeing. This is a responsibility of the organization, managers and employees.
Here too, we begin with a uniform, fairly general 90-minute digital session, which we offer to the various business units and departments. There’s little interaction on this point and it remains fairly theoretical. But it does give us the opportunity to tell people about what types of coaching we offer, which gives the teams the opportunity to think about what this can mean for their own team. Do I need team coaching? Are there any people in my team who would benefit from individual coaching?
Our webinars are fairly theoretical and general, but individual coaching is needed to get people onboard and activate the various teams. It’s a way to start a discussion on things.
“HR is like a train.
Everyone has to be able to find a place in the right coach.”
But theory alone is not enough. It’s not possible to drive through a single approach at a company like bpost. Every team is unique and needs a personalized approach. We achieve this with specific learning modules, on the one hand, and by responding to questions raised in teams, on the other.
For example, specific trainings are available on our learning platform for managers who are concerned about the engagement and performance of their teams and people. But also for all bpost employees who work remotely and want to get organized, find the right balance between their work and life in this new environment and maintain those contacts to remain engaged and efficient.
Five tips to help employees’ wellbeing while working remotely
- Set your boundaries: Create your own separate workspace. Ensure people at home know when not to disturb you. Communicate clearly to your team when you end your workday. Don’t check your mail after the end of your workday.
- Create a routine: Prepare as though you were coming to work at the office/workplace. Don’t work in your pyjamas! Set a clear start and end time in your calendar. Look for what’s working and adjust your routine if needed.
- Take care of yourself: Stretch your legs regularly, eat healthily and take in sufficient fluids. Stay creative, continue to do all your duties.
- Retain your sense of humour. Take time to laugh.
- Maintain social contact with others and look to create strong connections: Use your network for contact and support through email, Facebook, videocalls etc. Communicate to bring everyone closer together, even when working remotely. Stay up to speed on what your friends and family are doing and what’s going on at the company.
Everything we organize over and above the webinars and the specific learning modules is completely tailor made. We discuss the problem areas with the teams. We look for solutions together, with the support of an external partner and in-house stress coaches, and offer a solution tailored to the team.
An exercise you can do at least once a week or whenever you feel the need:
- I’m going to focus on... (a task, a goal...)
- I’m grateful for... (my good health...)
- I’m not going to entertain... (negative thoughts...)
Like bpost, this process is one of permanent evolution. I look forward to sharing more insights and actions with you soon. Feedback? Let us know!