Looking after your team’s wellbeing has never been more important as we juggle remote working with extra responsibilities. All employers legally have a duty of care to ‘support the health, safety and wellbeing of employees. Read our guide on looking after your team’s wellbeing and what support you could be offering.
Ensure they are set up correctly for home working
The wrong set up, or one which is not conducive to effective home working, could have a big impact on their mental health. An easy way to assess this is to conduct a risk assessment (we have a free template on our website). This will help you to understand where changes need to be made.
· Conduct regular check-ins
Simple things like asking “how are you today?” can make a huge difference during these uncertain times. Asking how you can help or support staff can go a long way, particularly if they are struggling. As a business owner or manager, it’s essential that you set aside time for staff to allow them to talk to you and assess how they are managing. Why not think about the wellbeing resources you could send them and keep reminding them to look after their emotional wellbeing.
· Think about mental health training
ACAS recommends businesses appoint mental health ‘champions’ for staff to talk to. There are lots of providers who can assist with this, including mental health first aid training for business owners or managers.
· Communicate regularly
Keep the lines of communication constantly open, particularly for staff who may be feeling anxious or don’t want to admit to how they are feeling. Using a staff survey can be a great way of gaining feedback without making staff feel uncomfortable.
· Set realistic expectations
We know that there is no such thing as ‘normal’ working hours and your team shouldn’t have to pretend that they are not juggling additional things. Adding pressure to an already difficult situation will only increase anxiety and have a negative impact on all concerned.
· Make sure you support furloughed workers
Staff on furlough may be feeling extremely isolated and anxious about their future role in the business, and where they fit. It’s important to keep in regular contact and be transparent about the state of the business with updates.
What to do if you’re worried about a member of your team
If your team raise an issue, or you have a concern about a member of staff, there are lots of useful resources available to help which we have listed below. However, the most important thing to do first is to listen to them:
· Be open and don’t judge them for what they are saying to you.
· Ask them simple questions to avoid overwhelming them and don’t jump to assumptions or try to anticipate what they may tell you next.
· Be positive and reassuring and that you are there to support and provide help.
· Take your conversation cues from the language they use.
You may want to consider:
Offering time off – when they feel well enough to return conduct a return-to-work meeting to find out how they are feeling and how you can further support.
Making reasonable adjustments to their role or working pattern or create an action plan to identify any potential stress triggers.
Offering flexible working / hours – there is no ‘one size fits all’ during this difficult time.
Supporting them with getting help – including accessing a counsellor (see links below). ACAS has useful guidance for all employers.
We know that as a business owner you may also be struggling and it’s not expected that you will have all of the answers. There are lots of useful support organisations who can assist.