How to protect the mental health of your employees following Covid-19

April 02, 2021

How to protect the mental health of your employees following Covid-19

Regardless of job role, we’ve all been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whether it’s meant being partly or fully furloughed, or picking up the work of furloughed colleagues; learning a new way of working from home; juggling employment with closed childcare settings; or being required to undertake Covid-safety work practices; no one, whatever they do, has been immune from a change to how, where or what they do at work.

Because of this, a priority for employers as we come out of the pandemic and return to a ‘new normal’ must be the protection of their employees’ mental health.

Indeed, evidence shows some 12.7% of days off due to sickness in the UK were down to mental health illness. So alongside the moral factor in supporting staff mental health, there’s also a case for it being good for business too.

Here are a few points to consider for supporting employee mental health in business:

Recognising unique needs

Mental health is a very personal issue, which affects each of us differently, whether it be depression, anxiety or stress, no two people will have the same experience of poor mental health.

Peoples’ worries are their own too. Some employees may feel anxious about coming back into an office environment again, while others can’t wait. Some may be stressed about job security while others won’t have given it a second thought.

Then there’s the additional factors of the past year: isolation, grief and the inability to access support and resources that benefit mental health.

So it’s vital managers ask and survey employees, on a confidential, anonymous platform, so they can gauge the spectrum of need across their specific workforce.  

Lead by example

“We’re all in this together” was the mantra throughout the first lockdown and that’s how employees need to feel. Breaking down the ‘us and them’ culture will allow a feeling of openness and honesty to develop, which is crucial in recognising, and then supporting mental health concerns as early as possible. Managers not only talking about but also engaging with mental health support sessions will go a long way.

At Chrysalis People Solutions our wellbeing and mental health training equips managers and leaders with the skills to spot and also support and help those struggling within their business.

Celebrate successes and be sociable

“Spread positivity and champion your colleagues,” says Chrysalis People Solutions MD Marie Piercy. “Recognising success boosts morale and is more important than ever when so many of us are working from home.

“This isolating environment can take its toll, and many cite not seeing their colleagues on a daily basis as having a big impact on their mental health. So it’s important to still celebrate achievement, as well as doing what you can to keep staff socialising; whether that be weekly team calls where the floor is open to talk about anything but work, or online quizzes or games.”

Prevention is better than cure

The Chrysalis People Solutions wellbeing and mental health training for businesses focuses on prevention. The strategy supports building mental resilience, equipping managers with the skills to influence and inspire teams, as well as helping staff to adapt to the ‘new normal’ from the get-go, so as to prevent problems escalating.

As with physical health, mental health isn’t something to only be addressed when there’s a problem. So creating a workplace that promotes a healthy mind all the time will improve staff wellbeing, productivity, attendance and motivation long-term. 

Remember the 3 R’s

“No it’s not reading, writing and ‘rithmetic! The 3 R’s are rest, reflection and relaxation,” says Marie. “Our wellbeing training looks at how these can be consciously incorporated into your business, to provide employees with the space, skills and inspiration to switch off and feel the effects of the other two R’s – being refreshed and rejuvenated!”

If your business would benefit from an employee mental health strategy, Chrysalis People Solutions offers wellbeing and mental health training and can create a bespoke plan for the unique needs of your business. Call us on 0333 888 4048 to find out more.  

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