Earlier this morning, Shine’s Caroline Whaley was asked to speak to Andrew Castle on his LBC Radio show around what support consumers and most importantly, the employees going back to work tomorrow, really need as shops start to reopen in the UK.

Also on the show was Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire, and Dr Chris Smith, Consultant Virologist at Cambridge University and host of the Naked Scientists podcast.

For Cal, much of the discussion around this topic has been about consumers and whether or not it’s safe for them, but as non-essential shops, no one is being forced to go to them. The biggest consideration should be for the staff that work there – they’re not in choice. Businesses absolutely need to prioritise their staff and look after them, they will then look after consumers.

Given the current climate, managers must consider both the psychological and physical safety of their people as many return to work. Factor in and appreciate that each person is unique and individuals will process their Coronavirus experience in different ways. Employers must create a psychological safe space so people can speak honestly about how they are feeling without any worry of negative repercussions. 

COVID-19 has created a huge and ongoing lack of certainty which inevitably causes anxiety to soar for many. Employers need to be mindful of anxiety, following many weeks in lockdown and there is likely to be a window where employees will have to readjust to working life, and a new norm.

There cannot be one blanket rule for everyone. This is easier said than done, but this is essentially what diversity and inclusion is. You have to listen to all the voices and when you do that the rewards are only ever positive.

Physical safety is easy for employers to get their head around but tackling psychological safety can seem a little more challenging. It is imperative at a time like this that each employee is treated on an individual basis. This will enable them to be open and honest about any concerns or worries which they feel may hold them back in the workplace, be it child care arrangements or maybe caring for someone vulnerable. There cannot be one blanket rule for everyone. This is easier said than done, but this is essentially what diversity and inclusion is. You have to listen to all the voices and when you do that the rewards are only ever positive.

Cal believes that the effects of COVID will see a shift in leadership style across many organisations. To lead a COIVD-19 workforce effectively companies need to be non-judgemental, empathetic and human! Employees need to trust that their employers are seeing the challenges they’re facing and being compassionate and supportive of them. 

Calm, thoughtful, human, inclusive leaders are now more important than ever before. The previous norm has been tarnished, there has been no better time for organisations to adapt and master thoughtful leadership. 

It’s about being human. It’s as simple as that.


You can listen to the full interview on the LBC app >