In a year of considerable change and uncertainty, we have to work harder to protect our mental health. As an HR Manager or Team Leader, your attitude and actions can also help the resilience of your team.
Every employee was recruited because they offered skills, knowledge, experience and potential that your organisation needed. In a challenging year, this talent should be retained and optimised. A team with good mental health is productive, motivated and able to make valuable contributions. So, what measures need to be in place to help everyone to cope?
Every Mind Matters
This year, World Mental Health Day focuses on providing support to people within the workplace. In this article, we particularly focus on Every Mind Matters. This NHS campaign focuses on the well-being of children and young people, so how is that relevant to your workplace?
Some of your team are likely to be parents. In the last 6 months, their children will have missed out on opportunities that should be part of everyday life. The closure of schools, clubs, childcare facilities and leisure activities has affected their ability to socialise, learn and develop.
There have been extra pressures on working parents, including home-schooling and childcare. The continuing impact of Covid-19 on their children weighs heavy on their mind. In a Public Health survey, 52% of parents stated that the mental well-being of their children was their biggest concern. Many wanted more advice on how to support their children.
You can help by raising awareness of the ‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign. The website includes online resources and advice for parents. In addition, there may be ways to establish support networks within your team. If possible, specialist training or group coaching could help address parents’ concerns. These measures will build the confidence and resilience of your working parents.
Your organisation may employ young people as apprentices or in junior roles. The start of their career is likely to have been disrupted by Covid-19, along with their home and social lives. To help them remain positive, motivated and productive, it is important to talk. Maintain regular communication that expands beyond technical training.
You may not relate to the issues faced by young people, but the ‘Every Mind Matters’ website has a section dedicated to young people’s well-being. It includes videos and links to charities who offer support.
Within the workplace, mental health can also be bolstered by the routine of work, good support from colleagues and recognition of the contribution they are making to the team.
The Return to Work
If employees have been working from home or furloughed, the return to work may be particularly stressful. With new procedures in place, it is another change to their routine that may bring mental health challenges to the fore.
Communication, care and collaboration will optimise physical and mental well-being during the transition. Our article on Work-life after Lockdown offers advice on how to minimise the impact of returning to work.
Solutions-focused Mental Health Support
As a company that values the mental health of your employees, it is important to develop a culture of empathy. Individuals need to feel confident that they can talk in confidence about the challenges they are facing. The priority for those involved in those disclosures is simply to listen. By that, we mean actively listen, without distraction.
The role of the HR Manager or Team Leader is not to diagnose or judge. The aim of any discussions should be on providing solutions-focused support. Signposting to relevant internal or external resources, such as ‘Every Mind Matters’, can be helpful.
If your organisation would benefit from additional HR support, please don’t hesitate to contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.
T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.
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Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.