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5 Tips to Protect Workers' Health and Well-Being

Industrial-organizational psychologists offer employers advice as pandemic continues to affect workplace

A group of people wearing face masks in a waiting room.

​Employers can take five steps to respond effectively to the needs of employees who continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, says the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Their guidance is offered in a brief video, "Research-Backed Insights to Protect the Health of Your Workforce." 

Kim French, associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, presents the recommendations and provides examples of how to implement them:

  • Allow control and autonomy. Allow employees more flexibility as to when and where they work, which will increase productivity. Respect employees' privacy, which covers a range of matters, from not contacting them during nonwork hours to permitting them to turn off visuals during video meetings. 
  • Provide tangible resources. Beyond proper equipment and safety procedures, resources for workplace health and well-being cover paid leave, dependent care, counseling services and employee assistance programs (EAPs). Rethink ways to reduce physical as well as emotional burdens on workers. 
  • Walk the talk. Make health and safety policies and procedures visible at all levels of the organization. Revise policies to create a culture that doesn't pressure employees to come to work even if they are sick. 
  • Be transparent. Provide information to employees about management decision-making, particularly regarding health and safety policies and procedures. 
  • Show gratitude and grace. Pay employees fairly and equitably. Be flexible and show understanding and compassion toward everyone in the organization. We are all experiencing the crisis differently and can use one another's support. 

This video is one of many evidence-based HR resources, Spotlight on Science: Applying Research Outcomes for Better Workplaces, produced by SIOP in partnership with SHRM to help HR professionals manage a variety of workplace issues. These materials present data that infuse the science of industrial-organizational psychology and other HR disciplines into management practices for daily use.


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