Shire Health & Wellbeing Insights

7 tips for looking after your team’s mental health during the pandemic

October 30, 2020

7 tips for looking after your team’s mental health during the pandemic

On the list of things negatively impacting employees’ mental health right now, Covid-19 is certainly one of them. 

A survey by mental health organisation TalkOut revealed that 35% of workers’ mental health had become worse since the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, 85% of those questioned said their mental health wasn’t a priority for their employer. 

What is certain, is the current pandemic has created a new set of challenges for business owners. Whether employees are starting to come back in to the office or are continuing to work from home, monitoring the psychological strain on a workforce should be top of the priority list. 

Here are seven tips for giving your employees the support they need during the ongoing pandemic. 

79%

of employees regularly experience work-related stress

35%

of workers' mental health has become worse since the Coronavirus outbreak

85%

of employees believe their mental health is not a priority for their employer

1. Clear communication
Line managers should be speaking with staff at least once a day and scheduling weekly team catch-ups, either over the phone or by video call. Conversations need to be honest, acknowledging that stress and anxiety are natural reactions to the situation. Feeling supported and part of a team does wonders for anyone’s mental health. 

2. Set up a buddy system
This can help open more lines of communication between colleagues. Encourage staff to have non-work related chats, offering a listening ear and creating a ‘safe space’ for their buddies. It’s often easier for staff to open up to colleagues rather than senior staff. 

3. Relax the rules (a bit, at least)
With so many staff working from home, this is not ‘business as usual’; it’s often ‘business at home’. With staff potentially having to self-isolate or regularly juggle work and childcare, you need to be mindful of these added demands. By understanding the impact these demands have, you can help keep stress at bay. 

4. Adapt leadership styles
Being an authoritative leader might be useful when faced with a global pandemic, but it’s not always the right approach when dealing with employee mental health. Vary your leadership style to one that best suits each occasion. During times of uncertainty, people want less ambiguity, so now might be the time to steer clear of choice and be clear in what you’re trying to convey. 

5. Show appreciation
Employee recognition plays a huge part in increasing job satisfaction and boosting morale. As well as thanking your staff as a whole for how hard they’ve worked during such a difficult time, it’s important to recognise the efforts of individual team members. In fact, a study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% claimed they’d feel “better about themselves” if they were thanked more often. Two little words can go a long way in making someone have a better day. 

6. Share support resources
With 79% of employees regularly experiencing work-related stress, it may be that your business already offers employee packages such as EAPs (Employee Assistance Programmes) or Employee Perks. These provide support, advice and counselling, and give employees access to the online tools they need to feel mentally and emotionally in control. Make sure these resources are clearly signposted and be clear about what your business does and does not offer. 

7. Remember mental health affects us all
In a world where times are continually described as uncertain, strange or unprecedented, it’s up to employers to make sure staff have the support they need. Living through a pandemic is going to impact how we all think and feel about ourselves. Some people are more at risk of poor mental health, so start with those in greatest need. But also remember that everyone right up to senior management can feel vulnerable. Businesses that look after their staff are rewarded by higher productivity, a lower rate of absence and a more engaged workforce – because the happier your staff feel, the better they will work. 

 

Employee packages can play an important role in boosting employee confidence and wellbeing, and supporting mental health in these uncertain times. At Shire Health & Wellbeing, we can help you make a positive difference to your business with employee benefits, perks and support.

To find out how you can provide your staff with the support they need, get in touch with our team today.

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