Digital Innovation Helps Shielded Staff Let Down Their Guard

DHU Health Care CIC has pioneered an innovative way of engaging and supporting employees who are shielding throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pauline Hand, Managing Director of DHU’s NHS 111 service, was quick to set up a communication platform for employees who had received government issued 12 week shielding letters.

Within the first two weeks of these letters being received, employees were contacted with regards to participating in weekly video sessions with their colleagues who were also now required to isolate at home.

The aim of the weekly sessions was to provide support, positivity, and encouragement to those who faced a bleak 12 weeks ahead of them isolated away from work, family, friends and normality.

DHU recognised that the isolation period had the potential to devastate employees’ mental wellbeing and aimed to alleviate this by providing an electronic platform in which they could engage and communicate with each other.

Pauline commented, “I knew that our behaviour during this pandemic would remain with our staff for a very long time, so I wanted to get it right. The spread of Covid-19 has obviously resulted in a global crisis, but as an organisation we seized the opportunity and used it to keep up morale, motivation and promote even better working relationships within our workforce.”

Stacey Howard, the NHS 111 Operational Performance Manager who runs the calls added, “Monitoring and reviewing our employees’ wellbeing continues to remain an essential responsibility within our organisation. However, prior to the pandemic, we had never seen or organised a welfare initiative to this degree.

“Morale within the team is soaring due to the support and compassion they have received throughout the video sessions.”

Keeping employees engaged and supported throughout the Covid-19 pandemic was a huge challenge for all businesses. DHU adapted quickly by not just giving employees the tools they needed to work from home where possible, but also by setting up innovative engagement schemes such as this one to ensure staff, regardless of location, were connected.

Employees involved with this workforce initiative remain strong advocates of the project and have communicated their praise and gratitude for the support throughout its initiation and development. A clinical advisor who is currently shielding said: “I personally am very grateful for these meetings and positively look forward to them on a Monday. It is reassuring to know that DHU are thinking of us whilst shielding.

“Stacey has been a great support – thoughtful, considerate and compassionate. She recognises that shielding is difficult and, for some, home working may be worrying but allows us to express our concerns and talk this over with others in the same situation. Stacey has also kept us informed of updates within DHU and has made the meetings fun as well.”

As a company, DHU Health Care hopes the initiative will help mould and shape their future approach to employee welfare and wellbeing. And, due to its simple design and implementation, it can be easily replicated within other organisations.