A new white paper focuses on how employers can help employees develop the mental resilience to get through the next months of pandemic working.
How can employers better support their employees’ mental health through a winter of ongoing Covid restrictions?
A new white paper from our sister site workingmums.co.uk focuses on best practice and is based on a roundtable of leading employers held in early September.
Key issues that emerged were employee engagement, regular and clear communication [more regular than in the past], line manager training to support mental well being and focusing on positives.
Many employers were doing regular surveys to find out how their employees were feeling since lockdown. These helped them to keep in touch with any changes and how employees were coping with them.
Mental health first aiders were popular with some employers. One firm had launched a mental health taskforce, including first aiders. There was some concern about the pressure being put on first aiders and how they could be better supported.
Another employer had moved from first aiders to healthy mind coaching and was rolling that out globally, with up to 50 coaches anticipated for the UK and Ireland.
Others offered educational webinars on anxiety, loneliness and other well being issues. Some had partnered with external experts to provide support.
Several employers mentioned the importance of emotional intelligence in uncertain times. One employer organised emotional intelligence sessions for managers so they could think more about the intentions and motivations behind people’s actions.
Speakers underlined how important line manager training was and the necessity for support to be ongoing, not just a one-off training day.
Employers said they put a big emphasis on communication in the early days of the pandemic. This needed to be kept up and some employers had well being pages on their intranet; others communicated regularly via newsletters.
In order to embed well being, senior leadership support was required, for instance, through regular well being messages or mentoring. Some spoke about how policies and practices had changed, for instance, one organisation now includes well being as a mandatory part of performance conversations with managers and trained managers to help people open up so they can spot warning signs and signpost people to help as early as possible.
Employers heard that it was also important, amid all the anxiety and bad news, to focus on the positive. One financial services manager said it was vital to focus on getting people excited about positive news, for instance, examples of mental agility, of how the workplace can be positively transformed as a result of Covid, of the new skills and jobs that might be created and of best practice around how people can work more effectively from home.
*The full white paper is available here.