Managing Your Employees’ Mental Health During Lockdown

In Employee Benefits, Health and Wellness, Mental Health by Tom Pullinger

While many of your employees might not be working right now because they are furloughed, as an employer, it’s important for you to check in with them. The uncertainty and anxiety caused by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is having an enormous impact on people’s mental health. That’s why employers need to be doing everything they can to safeguard their employees’ wellbeing during this testing time.

Here’s how employers can promote better employee wellbeing during lockdown:

1. Stay connected (but don’t overdo it)

Regardless of whether your staff are furloughed, working remotely or working fewer hours, it’s important to keep in touch. Agree to contact them on a regular basis – whether that’s once a day or once every other day – to show them that you are concerned about their welfare. Video calls are perfect as they allow you to also see how the employee looks and potentially spot signs of stress.

However, while it’s important to remain in contact with your employees on a regular basis, you don’t want to overdo it. Constantly checking up on employees can have a negative impact as it implies a lack of trust. Check in at agreed times and remain contactable in between.

2. Be open and honest

None of us can say with 100% certainty what the future holds, or what the ‘new norm’ will be after the COVID-19 threat has passed. But a lot of the stress being caused right now stems from all the uncertainty surrounding the current situation. So be open and honest with your employees about how your business is doing and outline any plans that might affect them or their roles.

3. Be consistent

There’s nothing worse – especially when emotions are running high – than employees receiving mixed messages from senior figures in your business. Ensure any communications you send are unanimously agreed beforehand and that all managers understand the unified company stance to avoid confusion.

4. Promote support options

Your employees need to know that support is available, now more than ever. If you’ve got solutions like Employee Assistance Programmes in place, make sure your staff know exactly how they can take advantage of them. Whether that involves a company-wide communication outlining such support, or a chat between managers and staff, highlighting what’s available is crucial.

It’s also important to encourage your employees to reach out to their managers if they need additional support. Sometimes, signs of stress can be difficult to spot, which is why employees need to feel comfortable talking about how they are feeling. Managers can encourage this by talking about their own mental health and showing that it isn’t as big a taboo as many people think.

5. Encourage healthy habits

Despite the lockdown, daily exercise should still be encouraged. Now that could involve some simple stretching routines, resistance training using household objects, or walking up and down the stairs a couple of times a day. Daily exercise not only keeps people physically fit, but also boosts their mental wellbeing.

During what are unprecedented times for workplaces up & down the country, it is still vitally important to ensure that employees’ mental health and wellbeing is at the forefront of managers’ minds.

A highly motivated result’s driven individual with a wealth of experience in the Healthcare & Group Risk market. I have established strong relationships with large multinational clients through excellent interpersonal skills. I have advanced listening, negotiating & influencing skills that allow me succeed in a team based environment. I have comprehensive knowledge of the UK Healthcare & Group Risk market. This knowledge has been obtained through the Chartered Insurance Institute & self study.