Wellbeing in the workplace: Providing support for employees post Covid-19

More often than not, mental health and wellbeing support in the workplace gets overlooked. The impact of this means a lack of productivity, low job satisfaction and over 80 million work days lost a year in the UK alone. Especially now, providing mental health and wellbeing support for employees or tenants in the workplace is more prevalent than ever due to the impact of Covid-19 and the effects this has had on people’s mental health.

Many people have either been furloughed, made redundant or have been working from home for an extended period of time. This, for many, has reduced confidence in the security of their roles as well as battling with anxieties around health and safety as we’re requested to return to workplaces.

 

Resources for infographic: Mind, CV Library, WHO

For many, working remotely has had its perks. They have enjoyed the flexibility and other benefits of working from home, and are hoping their employers will continue to offer more flexibility than before. But, for others, it has not been a walk in the park. Some have found the experience of working from home has had an undesirable impact on their mental health. From working and living in the same room in a studio flat to juggling childcare whilst trying to focus on work. Many have also struggled from the lack of social contact that working in an office setting provides, causing loneliness and depression in some cases.

So, now is a better time than ever for companies to step up to the mark to support their workforce and provide a community that has wellbeing at its core.

 

Resources for infographic: Mentalhealth.org, Perkbox

What can employers do to support their staff and increase wellbeing?

 

Reduce the stigma

In a survey by The Priory, 80% of self-employed respondents would worry about an employer’s response if they disclosed a mental health condition. This highlights the stigma that exists around mental health. Reducing the stigma around mental health in the workplace should be a priority, to ensure employees feel they have a safe space to be open and honest and to get the support they need. 

 

Be more flexible

Providing a flexible working environment can be a great way to increase wellbeing. A survey conducted by Wildgoose found that 39% of those who worked flexibly had benefited from better mental health and 69% of respondents felt flexible working helped them maintain a work-life balance.

 

Provide a safe space

Offering quiet rooms, such as a room with comfy sofas that are a digital-free zone sends a message to employees that you understand they may need a few moments to relax, and that you encourage them to do so. The pressures of work can get too much for people at times, and providing a quiet, safe space is a great way to alleviate some of those pressures. A quiet room can also be utilised by employees for spiritual or religious needs.

 

Wellness activities

Offering classes such as guided meditation and yoga is another great way to increase employee satisfaction and wellness at work. Yoga, for example, reduces stress and improves energy levels, overall helping employees to be their best selves at work. Companies that provide a great employee wellness programme will be more likely to attract and retain the best talent.

Providing a quiet room in the workplace is a great way to support employees, allowing them to take a few minutes to unwind and relax.

 

Introduce mental health champions

Mental health champions are employees that take on the voluntary role to help fellow employees in a peer-to-peer environment with mental health concerns. They also help to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace and act as an advocate. Mental health champions are not professionally trained therapists but are there to point people to the necessary contacts when needed. Ultimately, the champions are a point of call for employees, so they know there is someone there they can speak to when they are struggling, without fear of judgement. 

 

Internal communications

Paying particular attention to your internal communication is key to fostering a strong wellbeing culture. Keeping employees in the loop about company activity and relevant news increases engagement and reduces the sense of isolation employees can feel, particularly when working remotely.

 

Utilise technology

Use technology to your advantage to increase wellness among employees. A workplace experience app like District Technologies can be used as a platform for wellness events, news and communications at employees’ fingertips helping to keep them connected even when working remotely.

 

Making reasonable adjustments for a member of staff that is struggling with mental health issues

Once aware of health or disability information about an employee, the employer has a legal duty to consider making reasonable adjustments. They also have a general duty of care to make adjustments to help all staff cope and recover, whether or not they have a formal diagnosis. Treating someone with a mental health condition unfavourably because of their condition is discrimination and employees have a legal right to challenge it. 

So, what type of reasonable adjustments should you consider? Below is a list of some of the elements we’ve identified, but this list is not exhaustive – you should sit down with the employee to identify any other measures that they might need.

  1. Adapting the workspace (to be quieter, etc.)
  2. Flexible start/finish times
  3. Ability to work remotely
  4. Provision of self-help materials
  5. Increased supervision from manager
  6. Introducing a buddy or mentor
  7. Extra support with managing workload
  8. Additional training or mentoring

 

District Technologies is a workplace experience platform that can be used to engage your employees and increase wellness through communication, events and smart building technology. Keep an eye out for our Workplace Wellness E-guide which is being published soon, to find out more about how our platform can be utilised to increase workplace wellness.

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