In past blogs, we have discussed the importance of mental health in the workplace. However, as we enter the start of a second month in lockdown in the UK, the mental health of many is facing new challenges. Those who can, now work from home (WFH) for the foreseeable, while others have been furloughed or even lost their jobs. Meanwhile, the roles of key workers have gained a huge amount of added stress and pressure. As we all adapt our businesses to the ‘new normal’, there are many changes to make to ensure that both you and your employees are safe and well, physically and mentally. In this blog, Triple Three Solutions will be discussing how to support the mental health of your employees who are working from home.

What are the risks of WFH during COVID-19 on mental health?

While remote working is already on the rise (pre-pandemic) and has many benefits to business and individuals, this is a different situation. We have to remember that this is not just a case of implementing remote working; this is Government-mandated working from home during a global crisis. With anxiety, grief, isolation and burnout affecting many, it comes as no surprise that the country’s mental health is at risk.

According to this briefing on local.gov.uk, ‘The behaviours and environments needed to curtail the spread of COVID-19 are known risk factors for mental health difficulties’. See the full briefing on their website for more information on the potential mental health impacts of COVID-19 as a whole.

What can you do?

Employers and business owners should always take the mental health of their people very seriously. However, it may be even more crucial during these uncertain times. This in mind, Triple Three Solutions has outlined some ways to support the mental health of your team/s as they work from home.

Frequent, open & honest communication:

Speak to your staff genuinely and regularly. Keep them up to date with any work-related changes, let them know what they should expect and answer any questions they may have. You and your team may need to adjust how you communicate during this time. Whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype or otherwise, ensure you all have a clear, easy way to connect.

Routine: 

With a lack of ‘after-work activities’ during the lockdown, it can be easy for the work/life balance to become blurred. Help your employees to keep the balance by encouraging regular breaks, exercise and a normal sleep schedule. Regular online ‘meetings’ are also a great way to check-in with staff and keep a routine.

A good workspace: 

Another way to add a sense of normality to the new every day is to have a dedicated workspace within the home. Whether this is a full home office or a makeshift set up for lockdown, make sure your employees have everything they need to maintain a productive and comfortable working environment at home.

Correct information & advice:

Making sure your staff has access to the information and advice that they need can help ease anxieties. Regarding work and financial worries, make sure your staff know their employment rights and are aware of any help or benefits. For information regarding COVID-19, direct staff to the NHS and GOV.uk websites for accurate and up to date advice. When it comes to mental health, make sure that staff are aware of any help they can receive through your organisation. You can direct them to helpful tools such as online services from mind.org.uk other mental health organisations. If you are concerned for team members mental health, encourage them to reach out to their GP.

TTS Can Help:

Of course, the way you address mental health issues and support your workforce can change case to case. For more information on how to support your employees as they work from home, or for any other HR Advice, get in touch. Call us on 0333 050 3330 or contact us via email at lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk.