Looking After Employee Mental Health During The Pandemic

With the Government having recently announced that the UK population should now be working from home unless absolutely impossible, most of us face a change in workplace scenery. The reasoning behind their decision was absolutely sound and will go a long way towards protecting people’s physical health, both now and in the longer-term. But with this new working situation comes another issue – what about our mental health?

The current climate is one riddled with anxiety and uncertainty, and it’s hard to imagine that even the most self-assured among us won’t be rocked by it in some way. Keeping on top of employee mental health, then, should be a top priority for employers everywhere during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sarah Kauter, Managing Director of marketing and PR agency VerriBerri, took the decision to work from home earlier than most. As such, she’s already began to fine-tune what works and what doesn’t when it comes to keeping team morale up. She wants to share some of her advice in the hopes that your employees will come through these testing times as unscathed as possible, whilst maintaining workplace productivity.

Implement A Routine

There is nothing more important whilst homeworking than maintaining a semblance of routine. Routine helps instil a feeling of control back into your life. At the moment, very few of us feel like we’ve any control over what’s going on, mainly because we don’t! A routine will help bring some normality back into your employee’s daily proceedings. For example, encourage them not to work in their pyjamas. We’re not advocating a full three-piece suit but getting properly dressed will make sure your employees start the day in the right way and help them to keep feeling good about themselves. Also, introduce a daily video call between all your team members; this way, you can get a visual on your team, it holds them accountable to sticking to routine. A video call also allows you to gauge how they’re getting on much better than you would over email, say.

Go Easy On Yourself & Your Employees

We’d love to be able to say that your productivity whilst remote working will match that of in the office, however for most people this won’t be the case. Especially for those who aren’t used to it, and especially in such tumultuous times. With that in mind, if you’re not quite meeting your usual targets, or if you’re output isn’t as prolific as it would be, ordinarily, then that’s OK! On the flipside of this, don’t just go a bit easier on your team, celebrate the smaller things! Be your team’s own biggest hype man. The responsibility falls at nobody’s feet more than yours as an employer, to buoy your team’s spirits wherever possible. For instance, here at VerriBerri, we have a weekly lottery game where two members of the team, who have performed particularly well, are rewarded with lottery lines!

Keep Things Fun

Try to keep things in perspective at the minute, there are things in life more important than work and your team’s mental health is one of them. So, have some fun, where you can, we’re all in this together at the end of the day, and we all need to look out for one another. We have a team WhatsApp chat where we exchange jokes, gifs, memes, friendly banter, you name it. Whether it is your extroverted or introverted team members, everyone can benefit from a laugh now and then.

Encourage Mindfulness

Whilst taking advantage of any limited exercise opportunities is great for getting those endorphins pumping, in times like this it is meditative techniques such as mindfulness that will help your employees through. Taking just a few minutes each day to bring things internally back down to a simmer makes taking things one day at a time much more manageable. If the human mind is a machine, then in such pressured times regular recalibration is essential.

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