Mental Health For Employers | Healthy Working Lives
Phone us free on 0800 019 2211
This site is best viewed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge
SAVED: PAGE: ACTIVE AREA:
Title:
Type ID:
1
Type:
Text
ID:
8114
Active:
True
Parent:
3
Pos:
0
Style:
Title:
Type ID:
1
Type:
Text
ID:
8159
Active:
True
Parent:
4
Pos:
0
Style:
Title:
Type ID:
10
Type: ID:
1048
Active:
True
Parent:
4
Pos:
0
Style:

Mental Health Information For Employers

Information on looking after your employees’ mental health

Coronavirus has very quickly changed daily life for us all in Scotland and has had a real impact on how many of us are living and working. It is important that we recognise how it might affect our mental health, if it hasn’t done so already, and ensure that we are taking care of ourselves and our colleagues. 

If you’re a manager you might be worried about how you can fully support your team. This information can be used by line managers to help them to support their teams’ mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak whether they are in the workplace or working remotely from home.

Challenges of managing staff during this time

Managing all staff during the coronavirus pandemic has its challenges whether that’s managing remote staff or key workers on the front line. It’s important to make sure that you are taking time for you. You are leading your team through uncertainty and cannot have solutions to everything. Be honest with your team if you don’t know the answer to their questions and let them know that you will get back to them with more information later.  

Encourage work/life balance

Encourage your team to work only their set hours, eat lunch away from their working space and to try to get fresh air at some point during the day. Where possible, try to do this in your role as well.  An established working routine is really important. 

Continue to encourage your staff to use annual leave during this time, even though holidays and occasions may be cancelled. This will allow them to have some respite and downtime from work. This applies to you too.

If homeworking, encourage your employees to create a productive working environment

This will allow them to work safely and effectively. Encourage them to work from a desk if they have one, in a quiet space and in an uncluttered environment. Make sure your employees know to how to work new digital technologies they may be expected to use, you may need to provide them with some equipment to allow them to do their jobs safely.

Posture is really important if your staff are in work or working remotely. You can find out how to sit at your desk correctly. The Health and Safety Executive also have some great information on safely working from home and working safely with display screen equipment

Talk about balancing work and home life responsibilities

If your employees are caring for family, home-schooling or looking after children whilst trying to work, have a conversation with them about managing expectations. Parent Club have some great information on their website about coping with being a parent during these times.

Think about your teams’ workload. Some staff may like to be busy, and others may be overwhelmed with the situation. Work with individuals in your team and discuss priorities and potential supports available. Not all staff will be able to uphold their normal expectations and that’s okay. Let them know that you understand that and discuss what work activities can be achieved each day/week.

Keep in touch

These are unprecedented times and people can feel isolated. Maintain regular scheduled contact. If working from home, encourage individual and group chats over telephone and video call for structured and unstructured connections.

Not sure what to say? You could start conversations with questions such as:

How are you doing?

How is life in lockdown? Has there been any new challenges since we last spoke?

Are there any barriers? If so, can I help in any way?

Is there anything that you need? Or anything that I can do to support you?

By actively listening to your staff, you are showing them that you care. Please be mindful that this can be more difficult to do if you aren’t face-to-face with the person. Active listening is a skill everyone can learn and is a vital first step in helping someone. This document from ACAS features a section on active listening and may help you: Challenging conversations and how to manage them

Your team may need extra mental health support during this time

Let your staff know that you are here for them and that help is available. If you are concerned that someone isn’t coping, check in with them.

You could encourage them to complete a Wellness Action Plan (WAP) and share it with you if they feel comfortable doing so. Everyone can complete a WAP, you don't need to have a mental health problem in order to feel the benefits. It just means that the individual will already have practical steps in place to ensure they are supported when they aren't feeling great.

Let your team know what support your organisation provides

If you aren’t sure, find out and let them know. They might be able to access your Employee Assistance Programme, Occupational Health or dedicated apps or websites. Make sure your employees know who they can talk to. These help and support links could be good to pass on to your employees.

Able Futures delivers mental health support (including free counselling) to all UK employees. You can self-refer by telephone 0800 321 31 31 (8am – 10.30pm, Mon-Fri) or online.

Training

Free e-learning training is available to help you to support your staff’s mental health and wellbeing. Access our ‘Mentally Healthy Workplaces’ e-learning course by creating a free account and then searching for our course. All employees can access the course, it’s not just for managers or supervisors.

There is also a free e-learning module from NES available aimed at Health and Social Care staff which teaches the basic principles of Psychological First Aid. 

Be kind to yourself and staff

Living alongside Coronavirus has increased all our fears and anxieties and this can translate into difficulty concentrating which can impact on your work. Appreciate that you and your staff may need extra support and understanding during this time. Thank individuals for the work that they are doing and support them to be encouraging towards each other too.

Feeling Overwhelmed

It is perfectly normal to feel worried during exceptional times such as these. However, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, or a colleague or a helpline such as Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87 (Weekdays: Mon-Thursday 6pm to 2am) and (Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am) or the Samaritans 116 123 (24 hours a day).

Employers and employees can contact Healthy Working Lives for free information, advice and training on a range of workplace topics including health, safety and wellbeing (Webchat Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or by calling the Adviceline on: 0800 019 2211 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

Your employees might find our Healthy Working Lives - COVID-19: Mental Health Information for Employees webpage useful.

Grief and loss – Supporting Individuals  

Sadly, many of us may come across situations at work where a staff member suffers bereavement in their personal life or perhaps experience the death of a colleague. Knowing what to say and do in these situations to provide support to employees and co-workers can be challenging and naturally people may feel apprehensive.  Responding in a positive way to colleagues suffering bereavement can help build trust between the manager and employees. Taking small steps like finding a quiet place to have a conversation either face to face or remotely, showing compassion and empathy, finding out how the person is coping can all have a positive impact. Managers can recommend support processes the organisation has in place. It may be the case that the employee is not expected to return to work until a more suitable time. Managers must also be aware that not knowing what to say is ok, not having all the answers is perfectly acceptable. However in preparing for a discussion managers should familiarise themselves with organisational policies and procedures and available support they can signpost to e.g. occupational health, employee counselling. Managers should also consider different cultural, religious and faith practices and remain flexible around arrangement the member of staff might need to make.  The member of staff may have preferred methods to use for staying in contact and it is important for managers to consider the best way to stay in touch and listen to the employees needs and to schedule follow up conversations. In returning to work managers should consider if any adjustments are required e.g. flexible work patterns and have these in place prior to their return. Any adjustments should be discussed and monitored on an ongoing basis.

Useful support

http://www.sad.scot.nhs.uk/media/16419/employees-who-are-bereaved-web.pdf

http://www.sad.scot.nhs.uk/media/16414/experiencing-the-death-of-a-colleague-web.pdf

https://www.cruse.org.uk/



X

Contact Us

Check User:

This form collects and sends the information supplied to Healthy Working Lives. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having Healthy Working Lives collect the above details.