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While the uncertainty arising from the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened matters, mental health has been a long-standing issue for business across the globe.
We have come up with a few ways to enhance mental health support in the workplace space and within your team.
1.) Be creative with your mental health support
Your business will be facing numerous challenges over the next few months and it’s easy to get caught up in the uncertainty.
Try to lift spirits by being creative. Arrange video meetings where people can voice any concerns they have, or set up a webpage where employees/ community can anonymously share thoughts and queries.
There are a number of tools out there that can help you get creative with your support.
2.) Don’t forget to take care of yourself
As your business comes out of lockdown, you might be feeling the stresses of getting in new business, updating various procedures, and ensuring you are adhering to the required health and safety measures…all of which can affect your own mental health.
Set a standard for the employees you work with by how you approach self-care. Ensure you take time to rest and refresh, enabling your workforce to do the same.
3.) Train yourself or your community
Managing and supporting mental health at work will be considerably easier if you have designated community members can help , find out who that is within your community/ work-place. Alternatively, visit websites like NHS for support or to learn how to support others. You should then begin to notice a healthier, more positive attitude towards mental wellbeing across your community.
If you’re business is in a position train staff, Birmingham MIND offers workplace wellness training sessions designed to help employees notice and assist with mental health issues. Managing and supporting mental health at work will be considerably easier if you have designated staff members that can help.
4.) Reassure your community
Employees across the country remain scared and uncertain as to what the future holds for them – according to SME Web, seven in ten furloughed workers fear they won’t have a job next year.
Communicate regularly and clearly with your team, whether it be general updates about your business, challenges relating to COVID-19, or the health and safety measures you plan to introduce.
Regular contact will go some way to ease the fears your community/ team may have during these unpredictable times.
5.) Address the topic of mental health directly
Don’t be afraid to be upfront about mental health support in the workplace – the only way to make a difference in your business is to make the change yourself.
Make sure that your team are aware that you’re here to support them during this transitional period.
6.) Take into consideration different backgrounds
In your COVID-19 communications, make sure you consider factors that might be affecting different groups of people across your team.
You may have elderly workers, or employees who are caring for elderly members of their family, who may be anxious about returning to work and/or the health and safety protocols within the workplace.
Conversely, you may have staff members that live alone and – whether they’ve been working remotely or furloughed – may be feeling extremely isolated and withdrawn, and in need of support to reintegrate.
7.) Be sensitive and considerate
Mental health has been a taboo subject for a long time, especially in a workplace environment, and there will inevitably be people who feel uncomfortable or awkward discussing such matters.
Whether you are approaching a team member concerned about their job or comforting a business owner who may be going through a personal crisis, ensure you converse with them in a sensitive, measured and tactful manner.
8.) Make your employees aware of mental health support in the workplace…and beyond
Improving mental health support will make a big difference to your employees’ morale and to your business – a 2019 World Health Organisation study estimated that depression and anxiety cost the world’s economy about $1 trillion each in year in lost productivity.
You can improve mental health support for your community by signposting them to where they can receive help.
Further afield, there are a number of mental health charities in the West Midlands that can provide help and guidance. Along with Birmingham MIND, Forward Thinking Birmingham and The Waiting Room offer expert mental health support.
You can also learn more about your rights as an employee should you wish to discover more about statutory sick pay/flexible working, in this free guide from Manak Solicitors.
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