The pandemic has been a very emotionally difficult time for many people. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than one-fifth of Brits experienced some form of depression in early 2021.
The pandemic has been an emotionally difficult time for many people, and this can pose a problem for employers. When your employees are struggling, you probably want to support them, but it’s not always easy to know how.
While there are rarely “one-size-fits-all” solutions to such sensitive issues, there are some things you can do. Read on for three useful ways to look after your employees’ mental health.
One of the biggest changes that the pandemic has made to our working lives is the option to work from home. While this offers people the chance to avoid the morning commute, it can cause problems.
As we’re sure you already know, it can be a big shock to go from working in a bustling team environment to working from home. Home working can be very isolating, as you lack the regular chats with your co-workers at the office. This feeling of isolation can make it easy to have an emotional slump, particularly during periods with many deadlines.
One useful option to help prevent this is to organise regular team check-ins, just to have a friendly catch up and see how people are doing.
For example, organising a meeting first thing on a Monday can give people the opportunity to relax a little and chat about what they got up to over the weekend. While this is only a small gesture, it can go a long way in combating the feeling of isolation that comes with working from home.
While chats through the screen can never really replace the friendly chats of the office, these regular talks can go a long way in making people feel like they’re still connected to their co-workers.
Since the pandemic, many employers have allowed their employees to work more flexibly, particularly if they’re working from home.
However, one unintended consequence of this is that many people feel the need to put in more hours than they should. According to figures from the ONS, in 2020 people who worked from home worked an average of six hours per week in unpaid overtime, while office-based workers put in 3.6 hours.
This can pose issues to an employer as, while you may appreciate their hard work, it can mean that they suffer from emotional burnout more quickly. According to research by Indeed, more than half of workers (both remote and on-site) stated that they find it difficult to “turn off” from work.
As we’re sure you know, everyone needs time to rest and recharge their batteries. As an employer, you probably care about your staff’s wellbeing, and this is why it’s important to ensure that they’re getting a healthy work-life balance.
Encouraging breaks can be a good start, whether your team are working on-site or remotely. If the weather is nice, perhaps get a few people together and go for a walk to a local park. Taking a break and getting some fresh air can do wonders for managing stress.
One of the most useful things you can do is to set a policy that your employers shouldn’t answer emails or reply to internal messages after they’ve finished their hours for the day. While it may only take a moment, all those moments can add up. Making sure that your employees know when to stop can help prevent the line between work and home becoming blurred.
As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to mental health, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to problems as everyone is unique and deals with stress in a different way. That’s why one of the most effective ways to support your team is to sit down with them and ask what you can do.
While this is a simple measure, it can also be very important. According to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, management style is the second largest cause of stress in the workplace. This is why it’s important to be flexible and listen to your employees.
However your employees choose to work, there will often be ways that you can help them to do so more effectively and in a way that causes them less stress. Effective communication is the key to unlocking that.
While looking after the mental wellbeing of your employees is a key part of running any business, it’s also important to look after your own. This is where protection can help, as it can give you invaluable peace of mind to know that your company can overcome any disruptions.