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Supporting employees' mental health

As an employer, you should support your employees whilst they are working from home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses around the world are asking their employees to work from home due to the coronavirus crisis.  For many of us, this is a change in our daily routine and the opportunity to interact with others in person significantly limited, which can lead to feelings of isolation and uncertainty.

There are a number of things you can do to ensure you, and your employees, stay mentally and physically well in these circumstances. Your employees will be better able to manage their own health and wellbeing if they feel supported by you as their employer. 

It is particularly important to continue to consider how the different types of support offered within the workplace can be transferred to the home working environment. 

This "Thrive at Home" guidance provides some holistic advice on supporting your employees whilst they are working from home. In addition, employers are advised to keep up with the Government’s latest advice.

Here are six areas you should consider to support your employee’s health and wellbeing while working from home:

Communicate

Employers need to ensure they are maintaining good communication with their staff to support them and reduce any sense of isolation.

For many of us, this is a change in our daily routine and the opportunity to interact with others in person significantly limited. This can lead to staff feeling isolated, unclear of their role and anxious. As an employer you have a duty of care to your staff’s mental health and wellbeing whilst they are working from home, just as you would when they are at work.  

Find some tips on how to communicate while working from home here, or visit these resources:

Maintain mental wellbeing

Employers should encourage all employees, including managers, to look after their own wellbeing whilst working from home.

A change in routine and being suddenly forced to work in isolation can have a negative impact on our mental wellbeing. Continuing, where possible, with daily routines will support their overall wellbeing. This will also allow them to continue to remain productive and contribute to the organisation’s operations. 

You can find some suggestions for supporting your employees’ mental wellbeing here, or visit these resources:

Support musculoskeletal health

Employers need to encourage employees to remain mindful of their Musculoskeletal (MSK) health while they are working from home.

You should ask all employees to revisit your organisation’s Display Screen Equipment (DSE) policy and consider their homeworking environment.

You can find additional information on supporting musculoskeletal health here. You might like to share the following links with employees:

Encourage physical activity

Employers should encourage employees to remain safely active while they are working from home. 

You can find information on supporting your staff to stay active here. You might like to share a link to the NHS website, which has a number of free workouts, such as:

Promote healthy choices

Employers should encourage employees to continue to make healthy lifestyle choices while they are working from home. 

You can find further information on making healthy choices here, as well as through the links below:

Provide support for external risks to health

Financial wellbeing

It is understandable for employees to be concerned about your financial wellbeing in these times. You might like to share links to further information and advice on finances, such as the below:

Caring for others

As an employer, you should be aware of your employees who are caring for others, for example elderly relatives or children.

You can find further information on caring for others here, or at the links below:

Domestic abuse

Some individuals may be at risk of being exposed to domestic abuse whilst working from home. Domestic abuse includes controlling, coercive, threatening, violent or abusive behaviour. You can find resources related to domestic abuse at the links below:

There are also many national and local helplines available including: