Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas and inspiration from across the world which demonstrate how real action can accomplish positive social impact. This time we’re looking at employee mental health within this disrupted environment caused by Covid-19.
In the UK, offices are beginning to reopen and employees are starting to return to work, but Covid-19 has taken its toll on many people’s mental health, leaving employers to deal with a potentially “traumatised workforce”. Organisations should be prepared to offer additional support, because before lockdown mental health issues were costing UK businesses between £42-45 billion a year, so if we’re expecting numbers to rise, we can also expect the expense of managing these issues to rise. Whilst the social nature of the office will no doubt lift the spirits in some, there’ll also be plenty of anxiety around social distancing in an office environment and concern over whether safety measures are adequate.
The majority of us have had to cancel holidays this year, and unless you were one of the lucky ones who got away at the start of the year, then you may have taken a lot less annual leave than you normally would have. Add in the additional stress and anxiety brought about by the pandemic and you can see why many are struggling with their mental health at the moment. According to People Management, half of managers fear staff are burning out because of Covid-19, and so as an employee, try and make sure you book some time away from work, even if it’s not possible to travel. As an employer, perhaps try and encourage your staff to take that all-important time out.
As staff return to the office, it would be really useful to know how employees are feeling - whether they're anxious, stressed or feeling overwhelmed. It’s not the easiest thing to measure, because effective mental health metrics need to be “continuous, providing real-time insights”. So the mental health index might be the solution. This new index takes a sample from hundreds of US workers and records their psychological wellbeing on a monthly basis, this data then starts to build a collective picture and provides a quantifiable comparison month to month.
We love a good listicle, and what could be more appropriate here than four ways to invest in employee mental health. Innovate mental health benefits and resources is a great place to start, a chance to review existing benefits and let employees know what’s available. It would also be a good time to check that these benefits provide proper value, a very real risk with employee benefits is that they are seldom used to their full efficiency. We also loved the idea of creating a virtual support team, helping with isolation and building that all-important sense of community.
As with many things, often a solution can lie with technology. This health and wellbeing app, developed by the manufacturing company Tobermore has been offered to all of their 300 staff members, providing them with both physical and psychological support. Whilst we haven’t seen any feedback yet, this is such a great initiative. Many apps such as Headspace and Calm are incredibly popular, and they’re available at any time, day or night, so we think that this is a concept that should definitely be considered in the business world.