Over the past few months, we’ve had to adapt quickly to new ways of working due to the coronavirus outbreak. We want to continue to help people access healthcare more easily, as we have done for nearly 150 years at Simplyhealth. Here are some pointers on how to support your employees’ mental health.
1. Stay in touch using tech!
Technology has been bringing many of us closer together since we’ve been social distancing. Mobile messaging groups like WhatsApp, virtual conferences, the staff intranet and Skype video calls are great for staying in touch regularly with your teams.
MHFA England suggests a Q&A session for colleagues to dial in and share concerns or queries they have about working from home1. Or why not host a virtual coffee break as a more informal catch-up?
Mental health charity Mind suggests asking your teams to complete Wellness Action Plans2 to ensure you have practical steps in place to support your teams as much as possible3.
2. Remind your employees of the support they have
Now may be a good time to review your sick pay and absence policies, and discuss them openly with your teams. GOV.UK can help you research what financial support is available for your organisation4, and ACAS also has a dedicated COVID-19 help section for employers and employees5.
3. Point your employees towards self-care
The Mental Health Foundation has a helpful guide for looking after your mental health using exercise and suggests that even a short, 10 minute burst increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood6. Headspace, the meditation app, also has some useful resources, like meditation for beginners, a mindfulness hand-washing exercise and sleep advice7. Put helpful resources to good use by sharing them regularly.
4. Flexible working is the way forward
When many of your workforce are working in isolation, or workplaces are operating on skeleton staff, you’ll need some clever work-arounds to help your staff stay productive – and of course, healthy. The CIPD has helpful information on developing strategies to maximise homeworking and flexible resource plans8.
5. Show kindness
A little kindness can go a long way to showing your employees that their mental health is at the heart of your organisation. Think about small gestures that will have a big impact. Carry on giving employees a boost with staff recognitions and share any good news stories to encourage positive thinking.