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Home Working, Mental Health and Wellbeing

The coronavirus outbreak has caused huge changes to the way we work, and left many of us without our usual support systems. Therefore, it’s more important than ever before to reflect on what keeps us well and identify how we can look after our wellbeing during this time.

With more of us working from home, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you are juggling work with childcare, managing a remote team, looking after a family member who is ill, or shielding yourself.

Some people will be feeling anxious or stressed about things starting to return to normal, whereas others might be feeling excited about it.

As employees start to discuss returning to work, there may be new challenges which come to light that they need to adjust to. One of these might be travelling to work and worries about public transport. Employers should share with their employees the plans for returning to work and the measures you are taking for their health and safety.  Make sure you do this before the employees return, and give them an opportunity to share questions and concerns.

Employees who have been furloughed may have financial concerns or be worried about their future job security, try to alleviate these fears by sharing future plans and communicating positive news on new clients, new orders etc.

Employees with children at home may be anxious about fulfilling their working day, think about offering flexibility in the times they can work from home, early mornings or evenings if they need to care for their children during the day. Measuring the outputs of their work rather than the actual hours they are working might be beneficial.

Taking care of your employee’s mental wellbeing

Many people are struggling with maintaining their mental wellbeing during coronavirus, especially as they spend a lot of time at home and away from other people and work colleagues. Here are some tips to promote good mental health at work:

  • encourage employees to connect with people digitally, normally in the work place they would chat over making coffee or at lunch time. Employees can still do this through text or social media to keep up to date;
  • at the start of team meetings encourage sharing, maybe a fun fact from the weekend to encourage more social interaction;
  • encourage employees to take regular breaks away from their laptop, and getting some fresh air and sunlight outside, or a walk at lunchtime, employees can put reminders in their diary to do this.
  • promote healthy eating, and drinking lots of fluids, particularly in the hot weather;
  • promote physical activity, this could be with a 10,000 daily step challenge or something the team can all take part in and share progress. Many people have been active at home with online exercise classes or routines;
  • having a house plant near a workstation can promote wellbeing;
  • as a manager, set the example, promote what you are doing for your own health and wellbeing e.g. exercise and breaks;
  • check in with your team individually in 1 to 1’s around their wellbeing, especially with anyone who has a known physical or mental health issue. Use zoom or teams so you can see how they are and how they respond to your questions;
  • Consider workplace adjustments where there is an individual need e.g. pregnancy, reduce time on-site if the individual can work from home to reduce risks, or if someone has suffered from covid 19 and is fearful.

Questions a Manager can use to check in on an employee’s wellbeing:

  • how is your work situation at home? Do you have a private or shared space to work from?
  • in your usual work environment (in the office) what helps your mental health?
  • how can you adapt this into your new working environment?
  • what are your triggers in your new work space?
  • what has helped your mental health at home so far?
  • how might poor mental health impact your work?
  • are there any early warning signs that you start to show when your experiencing poor mental health?
  • what support can I put in place to help you?
  • are there any early warning signs that your friends and family might notice and how do they support you?

For more information and reference material please look at www.mind.org.uk

If you would like further guidance or support on employee well-being or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk  ©️ Copyright Clover HR

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