Pulse September 2020 - Page 27

P: COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the spa industry, with the vast majority of spas worldwide having laid off or furloughed employees for months as a result. As they reopen and rehire their teams, how can they best support the needs of younger employees during this challenging time? S: The spa industry knows how important it is to take employee wellness seriously. Employee burnout was already on the rise before COVID-19, and things have only gotten worse—especially for younger employees, who are facing rising rates of stress, anxiety and even depression at work. The World Health Organization (WHO) has even redefined burnout as a ‘syndrome’ linked to chronic stress at work. Understand that younger employees will need extra support during this time. Be as flexible as possible when re-opening and understanding that your workers may be balancing the toll of pandemic stress, career uncertainty, financial hardship, as well taking care of family members and caring for loved ones who are sick—all while trying to show up to work on time. Be transparent. Create time for open and honest communication and allow people to share what they’re going through and what they need from their employer. If possible, provide access to mental health support and resources. When in doubt: treat your employees like your own family members. P: What long-term impact do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the current and future workforce? S: The economic impact on the workforce cannot be understated and many middle- and working-class families will be hurting for years to come because of the pandemic. So many people have lost income and opportunity due to COVID-19, and it will take years for our economy to fully recover. There will be an entire generation of workers that has to juggle two or three part-time jobs to get by since there won’t be enough full-time positions to go around—this was already the case for many people before the pandemic—and now will be the reality for more people. Hopefully, we can come together to create a stronger government safety net for those who need financial security, worker protections and healthcare the most. Everyone has been saying that the office is dead and teams will be working remotely forever. I actually predict the opposite. I think employees are starving for that human connection, that physical touch, and that sense of being in the room with other people that was common place before COVID-19. Sure, remote work has become more popular and many companies will move to a hybrid model, where you can work from home several days a week and be in the office once or twice a week. But the long-term impact will be that we SEPTEMBER 2020 ■ PULSE 23