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How to support your staff with mental health while working from home

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by Ben Batten

Uncertainty has become the big theme of 2020 thanks to COVID-19. Working from home has been eased for some businesses but is likely to remain a consistent part of life for a long time to come. Many employees are currently unsure about what their future looks like and dealing with the uncertainty of the national situation, as well as worries about ill health and isolation, which can create a lot of problems when it comes to mental health. What can your business do to support its remote working staff where mental health is concerned?

Encourage a healthy day
Working/life balance is even more important to maintain when people are working from home. Ensure that managers in the business are setting an example and giving others permission to do the same. Proper lunch breaks, regular screen breaks and getting outside during this time are all important.

Review the way the business works
If you haven’t done already it may be time to look for alternative systems and processes that are more compatible with a more remote workforce. How could technology support greater collaboration and effectiveness and remove the pain points created by working from home that could be stressing people out?

Combat isolation
For those not used to working from home it can feel lonely and isolating without the interaction that comes from an office environment. It’s important to make sure that you’re checking in regularly with your team to ensure that they are coping and to find out if there is anything they need where mental health is concerned. Schedule regular team check-ins as well as sessions with individuals, whether that’s via video conferencing or over the phone.

Emphasise collaboration
Even if staff are working from home there are still many ways to bring them together. Anything that allows people to ‘see’ each other via a screen can be really effective so video conferencing tools are very useful.

Create awareness and accountability
When it comes to mental health many of the issues we commonly suffer from stem from a lack of awareness as to when a problem might be starting. Make sure that you create a safe space in which employees can report issues with mental health and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves by sharing how they’re feeling. It can be useful to ask staff to create wellness plans that combine identifying an employee’s current mental health state and making a plan for the future.

Establish wellbeing support tools and make these widely available
Whether you have online counselling sessions available, fitness classes online, digital lectures or just regular check-ins, make sure that your staff can easily access any wellbeing support tools that you create for the business. Make sure it’s acceptable and simple to use these tools to help support greater mental health.

The mental health of your workforce is crucial, especially at the current time. It is the key to ensuring that the business survives and is able to be resilient and productive even as the situation continues to change.