With the global COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, and with many parts of the world still being affected by the risk of infection and the ongoing rounds of lockdowns after approximately a year, it’s clear that the mental health toll has been substantial.
According to Public Health England’s Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHW) surveillance report, young adults and women, people with pre-existing physical and mental health conditions, adults who have been out of employment, and people from lower socio-economic brackets, among others, have been particularly hard hit.
Fortunately, there are training courses available such as those found at https://keepsafesolutions.co.uk/product-category/mental-health/ to help employers and others help alleviate some of the negative impact to mental health and well-being caused by the pandemic.
But what general tips might be useful in order to help boost and safeguard workplace mental health and well-being?
Be as flexible with working arrangements as possible
If you are an employer, there’s a high likelihood that you have been working with a mostly telecommuting team for some time now as a result of the pandemic – and remote working is certainly the best-case scenario in many situations, if not outright essential in many cases.
Nonetheless, something that is certainly likely to place additional strain on the well-being and mental health of your already stressed employees is if you are being completely inflexible with the hours during which they have to work and are unwilling to make any concessions to personal circumstances.
Every business has targets to meet, of course, and employees need to get work done. But being as flexible with your working arrangements as possible right now is certainly bound to do a lot of good.
If your workplace premises are open, emphasise the social dynamic of the workplace
If your employees are still gathering at your workplace premises, there’s a good chance that many of them are actually cherishing the opportunity to be around other people on a regular basis, even just for work.
Many of the severest blows to mental health and well-being connected the pandemic have to do with the sense of loneliness, isolation, and social alienation felt by many people – particularly those who live alone and don’t have social support networks and are now largely cut off from broader society.
If your circumstances allow for it, you should do what you can to emphasise the social dynamic of the workplace. That might mean extending lunch hours and coffee breaks, holding limited team building exercises, or any number of other things. But since the office is likely to be the primary social outlet for some of your employees, you should do what you can to make it count.
Have helpful information and resources at hand
People who are experiencing mental health troubles or significantly reduced personal well-being, may well be uncomfortable with expressing their concerns openly to their colleagues.
For this reason, you should have helpful information and resources easily at hand, so that employees who are in need can benefit from them.
This could include pamphlets with links to government mental health resources, self-guided books and leaflets detailing CBT exercises, business cards of counsellors, and notifications of open-to-all social events.