Supporting mental wellbeing
What you need to do
You should encourage all employees, including managers, to look after their own wellbeing whilst working from home.
Why this is important for you
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, there are many things that might impact on employee mental health and wellbeing whilst working from home - including the following four key areas:
- General worry about COVID19 and its impact
- Employees with existing mental health problems not being able to access support
- A change in routine
- Working in isolation
How can you support your employees?
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 (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) and allow employees to maintain an objective sense of the changing situation. This will also allow them to continue to remain productive and contribute to the organisation’s operations.
Employees with existing mental health problems may be concerned about not being able to access their usual support during this time. As an employer you should consider doing the following things:
- Review your EAP provision, making sure it is able to respond to the current situation, and promote it regularly to employees.
- Review your Occupational Health or in-house mental health support and think about how this might work digitally / remotely.
- Research any peer support / online group support being offered.
- Encourage employees to reach out to their existing support networks, including their counsellors or therapists to discuss ways they can be supported during this time.
- Promote Mind’s online peer support network: https://www.elefriends.org.uk/
- Provide guidance to managers about how to support staff during this time
Encourage employees to create a plan for themselves and to follow it each day. They may wish to include some, if not all of the following:
- A new routine to maintain
- Distinguish between work and home mode
- Have a designated space for work
- Daily tasks
- Checking in on friends and family
- Meal planning so that they are eating and drinking well
- A gratitude diary
- A sleep routine
- A new/existing hobby such as cooking a new recipe, knitting, drawing, etc.
- Using this opportunity to help your teams to learn a new skill
As stated in the communication section it is also vitally important to ensure you stayed connected with all employees, and encourage them to stay connected with their colleagues.
You can find some suggestions for supporting your employees’ mental wellbeing here:
- Encourage employees to use Every Mind Matters to create a Mind plan.
- The Mental Health Foundation has information on how you can support yourself and colleagues.
- Mind has published some useful advice and guidance suggesting some simple things individuals can do to look after their mental health and wellbeing at this time.
- Mind have produced a toolkit, which contains useful resources, including information on structuring your day if working from home as well as guidance on creating Wellness Action Plans.