I have recently attended a course to become a Mental Health First Aider – which I would whole heartly recommend to anyone who manages people.
Whilst I believed that I had familiarity within this area based on my working and individual life experiences – this course reiterated the need for general mental health awareness but also the potential impacts on our mental health when we are working from home.
As an employer, we do need to be mindful of the changes on our working practices and how this impacts our staff. We will all respond differently to changes in our work environment which can cause issues for a business – there is not necessarily a one size fits all approach.
However, by stopping to review your working practices will pay dividends to ensure your workforce are happy, they are productive and importantly working healthily.
Here are a few points for you to consider helping start your review and promote positive mental health –
- Ensure that you have planned communication with your team – this could be 1:1 meetings or team meetings. There could be briefings and planned on-site meetings (covid safe of course) to ensure that all staff feel involved.
- Are your team communicating? How do you encourage this to happen? Are your IT systems in place to support? ‘Death by email’ can be detrimental, constant ‘Zoom meeting’ can cause fatigue – consider picking up the phone and talking directly when you can.
- Do not under-estimate office/on site discussions – when teams are split, these discussions can be lost – which can be really important in generating ideas/solutions and generally talking about ‘things’. Can you create a virtual tea break?
- Do your team take breaks from the screen? Working from home it is easy to keep the lap-top open and continue to work long hours. Be sure to set an example of sticking to working hours, encouraging taking breaks and screen downtime, and not making calls out of hours.
- Do you and your managers understand the signs of stress and poor mental health within the team? How would they respond and manage a situation? Training and reading around the subject will help in this area.
- Think how do you encourage staff to come to you if they have a problem or are struggling? Are you approachable and would your staff feel comfortable talking to you?
For more support please feel free to contact me and we can create a plan to support you and your team in these changing times.
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