Detoxing the workplace during COVID-19

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Health Assured team

22 February 2021

According to the latest reports, one in five Brits quit their job due to toxic workplace culture.


In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has turned workplace wellbeing on its head. Across the UK and Ireland, employees are continuing to adapt to the mental and physical challenges of remote working, covid-secure workplaces and in some cases, furlough.


It’s likely that the challenges the pandemic has put in place will have made a noticeable impact on the wellbeing of your people and your organisation as a whole. In addition to this, employers are having to continue to fulfil their duty of care towards their people from a distance - which is no easy feat.


Symptoms of a toxic workplace

To combat the effects of a toxic work environment, you will first need to be able to spot the warning signs within your organisation. And while the pandemic has forced many employers to interact with their people in a less personal manner .e.g. virtually or at a safe distance, there are still signs that you can look out for in your people, and organisation.


High turnover: A toxic workplace will struggle to retain their best talent, costing the organisation funds and key team members. Are you noticing returning trends when employees leave the organisation? If so, look to address these issues before it costs the organisation talent.

Low morale: Have you noticed a lack of enthusiasm from your people lately? Has their attention to detail and passion for their roles fallen by the wayside? These could be symptoms of low morale in your team, which left untreated, can be disastrous for the workplace.

Increased absences: A toxic work environment can often lead to employee burnout, fatigue, and illness. You may even experience an increase in presenteeism - where sick employees resist taking time off and continue to work while unwell.


Tips to detox the workplace

Digital detox: The pandemic has increased our reliance on technology. Video calls, messages and emails have replaced human interaction and as a result, your people may experience virtual communication fatigue. To avoid this, encourage your people to take regular breaks from their technology, venture outside on lunch breaks and ‘switch off’ at the end of a working day.

Nutrition: Embrace your responsibility to the physical and mental wellbeing of your people. Encouraging healthy snacks and activities, such as walking lunches and standing desks, will help give a welcome boost to employee wellbeing and can even help to bring the team closer together. For those team members who remain at home, offering discounted food delivery packages can be a sincere reminder that you are looking out for their health and financial wellbeing.

Communication: Eliminating stigma and negative attitudes towards discussing mental health in the workplace is a huge step towards detoxing it. Leading by example and encouraging open communications on difficult subjects will show employees that their wellbeing is not a taboo topic.

Relationships: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees are feeling disconnected from their peers and as a result, may start to feel alienated and lonely. To combat this, virtual team-building activities and social events can help employees feel comfortable working closely and build friendships. This, in turn, will help team members feel able and willing to talk to each other and offer support should they be facing any troubles.

Promote support: Highlighting your employee wellbeing services, such as Health Assured’s EAP, will inform your people that you care for their wellbeing. In return, your people will feel valued and supported in their role, and will never be without a place to turn should they need it.



If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324

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