As we return to the workplace, the primary focus of conversations is either managing furlough or redundancy. It seems as though employee mental health is being side-lined right now as employers firefight their way through lockdown and beyond.
According to ACAS, mental illness is the greatest cause for disability in the UK and so organisations need to be more aware and proactive in promoting mental health in the workplace as it ensures a more motivated, present, happier, stress-free workforce. Something every employer strives for.
Organisations are seeing an increase in Fit Notes and otherwise facing challenges with the management of their employees whose mental health is suffering as a consequence of the lockdown. Some employees who were furloughed have expressed a lack of drive, purpose or value to their employer or that they have felt isolated and out of touch with people.
Employers need to factor employee mental health and wellbeing into their considerations when making plans that affect their people. Suggestions include:
- Putting staff mental health on the agenda at management meetings
- Providing training to managers to help them identify and support employees who are perhaps struggling with poor mental health with coping strategies;
- Carry out regular wellbeing reviews to spot the signs early before there is significant deterioration in an employee’s mental health;
- Learn and adapt how to have conversations with employees about their mental health and share tips on how to manage it themselves;
- Know when and where to signpost an employee to specialist support services;
- Aid employees in being more resilient by noticing and praising their efforts more so they feel motivated to overcome more difficult challenges within their work; and
- Practice being more compassionate by delivering mindfulness and relaxation into their working day so they can really take a break!
After all, as the saying goes, if you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your business.
If you require more advice or support on employee mental health and wellbeing don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our HR team is on hand to advise you on any issues affecting your workforce. We also work in partnership with Red Umbrella, who provide corporate care solutions including mental health first aider training and support services.
Millie Dawson, HR Intern