Whilst some employees thrive during a crisis others experience a range of negative emotions from loneliness to boredom and anxiety to frustration. It’s important to remind your employees that there’s no right or wrong and ensure they have access to advice. For HR teams and line managers alike, creating a well-being toolkit to tackle the new pressures Covid-19 is having on mental health is a must - but where to start?   

Here’s some of the new pressures your employees could be experiencing right now, many of which your business may not have covered in the past. We’ve also shared some helpful support tools and articles to help point you and your teams in the right direction.  

how to protect employee mental health:

  1. support healthy sleeping patterns
  2. beat anxiety
  3. manage stress levels
  4. support a new work-life balance

supporting healthy sleeping patterns.

Good quality sleep can have a significant impact on how people feel, both mentally and physically. Employers can do their bit by encouraging employees to avoid work and screen time before bed (ask managers to avoid sending late night emails to teams where possible). For teams working from home, it’s important that work laptops and mobiles are kept away from the bedroom - cool, dark, quiet and restful environments generally make it easier to fall and stay asleep. 

We loved these videos and tips from the NHS to support healthy sleep patterns. 

beating anxiety.

Many employees have experienced anxiety and it’s a perfectly natural reaction to have in some situations - a big presentation is a prime example. Employers need to be mindful that Covid-19 has increased some people’s feeling of anxiety and, for some, it can be a constant and overwhelming source of distress. For line managers, checking in on team members is critical to managing work-related anxiety levels. Regular virtual meetings give employees the opportunity to discuss concerns and managers can help their people tackle work projects that are a source of anxiety. 

Mind has lots of helpful articles and resources for employers and employees alike. 

stress levels are rising.

Lockdown is placing new pressures on people’s mental health, especially when it comes to stress. There’s a number of contributing factors, from working parents trying to be productive to teams managing additional workload when colleagues have been furloughed. When it comes to work, a manager’s steer and input is crucial to managing stress levels. Organisations need to do their bit to plan workload and deadlines. Managers need to support that by breaking down projects into smaller tasks to help minimise stress levels and ensuring team members have the skills required to tackle the task in hand.   

finding a new work life balance. 

Whilst organisations are operating in a tough economic climate, they need to support employees in finding a healthy new work life balance. Line managers need to ensure their teams are able to enjoy breaks and adequate downtime. Encouraging physical activity is also a great way to support mental health and work life balance. Walk and talk meetings are a superb way to combine work with some fresh air and physical activity. Many HR functions highlight the benefit of organising online team workouts too - from yoga to Joe Wicks.

If you'd like any further help or advice on this topic, please contact us today.