Employers – Look after your employee’s mental health during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

With Coronavirus (COVID-19), the lock down, isolation and many people working from home it is even more important that we are mindful of our own mental health and that of others.

There are already worrying signs that the current Coronavirus pandemic is having a detrimental effect on young people who are already struggling with mental health issues. A recent survey of young people under the age of 25 carried out by the charity Young Minds found that more than 80% had seen their mental health condition worsen. It is likely that this effect is replicated in Adults.

If you are a business who has employees working from home, you should be mindful of possible mental health issues:

  • Stress: Be aware that employees working from home will potentially be finding the new work routine stressful, especially if there are other people in the house such as children, trying to stay focused on the job in hand with other distractions going on around you can be extremely difficult.

  • Anxiety and Depression: Employees may be worried about their jobs and financial position, this in turn can lead to anxiety and depression.

  • Loneliness: Home workers may be feeling isolated, missing the routine of going to work and mixing with colleagues. As humans we are creatures of habit and are social animals, be mindful of any employee who lives alone and will therefore be having no daily personal contact or interaction at the moment.

How can employers help their employees?

The NHS have published advice regarding mental health during the Coronavirus crisis, which is useful to share with your employees whilst reassuring them that they can talk to you if and when they need to.

The main element of the NHS advice which employers can be proactive with is point 1 - Find out about your employment and benefits rights.

Employers at this time should be as open as possible with their employees. Employment and Financial concerns can have a big effect on people’s mental health.

Explain to them what the current situation is and answer any questions they may have to reduce worry.

As employers you can keep in regular contact with your staff, consider if possible, having regular team meetings via Skype or other similar platforms. Send out email bulletins and of course ask how your staff members are feeling and point them in the direction of various websites which offer help and advice on dealing with mental health issues.

Everyone should remember that it is okay and perfectly natural to feel worried and concerned about the present situation, and it is okay to ask for help.

Alcumus PSM’s Health and Safety Consultants are available to ask for any health and safety advice or discuss any concerns you may have. Contact us by emailing psm.enquiries@alcumusgroup.com or call us on 01484 439930.

Alcumus PSM are hosting a free H&S COVID-19 webinar which you can register for.

Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Written by Steve Scott, H&S Consultant