The pandemic has had a huge impact on all areas of our lives – emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially. It’s very unlikely you’ll find anyone that hasn’t been affected by Covid-19 in some shape or form.
And, although restrictions are starting to gradually ease and the vaccination rollout is in full force, the pandemic is still not over, and many people are facing on-going challenges and worries.
With this in mind, the health and wellbeing of your workforce should be a top priority, whether you’re beginning to welcome your employees back into the workplace or they will be working from home for the foreseeable future.
The good news is, when it comes to managing wellbeing and employee mental health following the pandemic, there are lots of best practices that you can implement to help ensure your workforce is as happy, safe and well as possible. After all, mental health related absence is the most common cause of long-term sickness throughout UK workplaces.
How will COVID-19 affect our mental health?
The true mental health impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be known. But we do know that there are lots of different factors that could have impacted your employees’ mental health.
From the knock on effects of social distancing and isolation through to anxiety linked to concerns around catching the virus and bereavements suffered during this time, there are lots of potential mental health implications that employers will need to look out for both now and moving forward.
The mental health charity Mind has already released data indicating that more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people in the UK have feel their mental health has deteriorated during lockdown.
But how can employers help and what should they do?
Whether your employees are working from home or returning to the workplace, you will need to implement a range of measures to support them, particularly if they are experiencing poor mental health as a result of COVID-19.
The measures you can take to help and support your workforce include:
- Ensure managers are aware of the potential mental health implications of COVID-19.
- Ensure all managers understand their roles and responsibilities when it comes to managing mental health and making sure all staff get the right level of support.
- Communicate regularly and always check in. A simple “how are you doing?” can go a long way.
- Introduce supported activities that encourage physical, mental, financial and social wellbeing.
- Raise awareness that there is mental health support available if required.
- Implement an open door policy so your employees know they can talk to you if they need to.
- Provide the relevant support for any employees facing redundancy situations due to Covid-19.
- Encourage all your team to adopt a better work-life balance.
- Address any fears about return to work, in an open, non-judgemental way.
All employers have a duty of care to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and it’s important that mental health is taken extremely seriously in every workplace but particularly, at the moment.
Our Oculus HR team are qualified and experienced in supporting mental health in the workplace. To find out more about how you can ensure your employees have the support they need, please get in touch.