How has mental wellbeing changed?
Eight months into the pandemic, the conversation around mental health and wellbeing has started to shift. Prior to covid-19, it seemed that many organisations didn’t have the necessary tools in place to support mental health, however the pandemic has pushed this issue to the forefront, according to Hubbard.
He explained: “We’re hearing from numerous businesses that prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, mechanisms weren’t in place – or at least weren’t widely promoted – to encourage frank discussions around mental health in the workplace.”
Despite this, he shared that change is happening, and that the crisis has prompted HR to encourage “more regular discussions” that “are happening with line mangers on Teams or Zoom”. He shared that while concerns over isolation and a sense of the unknown were a topic for discussion during the first pandemic, employees are now growing worried about new matters.
He said: “Anxieties that are now front of mind are around career progression, and job security – particularly among younger generations.”
Tackling the stigma
Thanks to these open conversations taking place, HR has been able to tackle the stigma that often surrounds mental health. But to go one step further and ensure employees have the support they need during a second lockdown, Hubbard said it’s crucial to signpost channels and the tools available to support staff.
“At Lloyds Banking Group, we’ve been able to offer a comprehensive suite of support resources, all available online, through our wellbeing portal, which focuses on both prevention as well as support wellbeing challenges be that working from home, domestic abuse, finances, staying healthy and much more,” he shared.
Particularly, with a remote workforce, he stated that HR should strive to empower leadership and management teams to promote healthy practices and to lead by example. He explained: “For instance, try not to send out of hours emails unless it’s really necessary, find ways to reduce email traffic by picking up the phone where you can, and encourage regular breaks.”
What’s Lloyds Banking Group doing?
To ensure its staff are receiving the support they need during this uncertain time, Hubbard revealed that Lloyds Banking Group is rolling out extensive tools including the training of 2,500 colleagues to become Mental Health Advocates by 2021. In addition, the organisation has continued working with its charity partner Mental Health UK and have achieved over £11million in fundraising.
“We need to break the stigma around mental health and be prepared to initiate regular conversations to help tackle the issue,” he concluded. “Even if only a handful of people become more open to talking about their concerns, it will help to remove any unnecessary shame or embarrassment associated with the problem, and encourage more people to come forward when they need support.”
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