Apr 1, 2020 | Blog

Team Insights: Managing mental health issues for workers during COVID-19 lockdown

by Paul Duff

These certainly are unfamiliar times we find ourselves in. As a large percentage of the UK’s non-essential workforce finds itself furloughed or working from home, we must consider the health implications on our workers during this time – and that includes mental health.

Paul Duff is part of the customer acquisitions team here at Notify. Here he talks about managing mental health issues for workers during COVID-19 lockdown, and what business owners and managers can be doing to help their teams stay connected.

A few months ago, I wrote about Mental Health in the workplace and how we are implementing Mental Health support within our own business here at Notify. Now many businesses, like us, will be put to the test. Mental Health has always been an interesting and important topic to me, as I have experienced depression and anxiety and continue to work hard to positively manage my own mental health.

Understandably, people across the nation are worried. Worry and anxiety may be coming from a whole host of sources right now ranging from not seeing loved ones, job security, financial implications of being furloughed on reduced pay, balancing work with childcare or simply feeling out of touch with the day-to-day life they’re used to.

My tips for managing Mental Health during lockdown

Based on my own experiences, I’ve compiled some of my top tips for managing Mental Health at this very unusual time:

  • Exercise – Take full advantage of going out once a day for your daily exercise. You could use this as a time to try something you don’t normally get time for, like jogging. Exercise has strong links to improving mental health so, if you can’t go outside, maybe try something you can do indoors like Yoga. Many fitness companies are now offering online sessions while face to face treatments and classes aren’t possible.
  • Routine – Find a daily routine or a timetable and stick to it. It can be all too easy to forget your usual day-to-day responsibilities and binge-watch Netflix. Your routine could take you through the different areas of your home to keep you moving both mentally and physically. Plan activities, tasks and exercise – but factor in some downtime and rest too.
  • Stay connected – Check in on family members using technology. Thankfully, we have an abundance of tools at our fingertips to help us stay connected. Whether you are using FaceTime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or even the new trendy app Houseparty – it’s good to keep in touch.  Supporting someone else –albeit remotely – is not only good for their mental health but for yours too.

So what can business managers and owners do to help their teams stay connected, safe and productive while homeworking?

  • Hold daily check-ins with your teams –  Do they know what is expected of them? How are they doing? Can you provide some additional support? If you are using Furlough Leave, do employees know exactly what this means? Communicate, communicate, communicate. Make it positive and practical – think of a positive to share every time you interact with another person
  • Make sure your Risk Assessments are accurate and up-to-date – Our legal expert Tristan covered this in detail in his latest post here
  • Check your Insurance provider – Some insurers provide EAP (Employee Assistance Program) access free of charge which may provide you and your staff with added wellbeing tips, hints, guidance and helplines

It is not unusual to feel overwhelmed with information right now, as government guidance is constantly changing and we are all in unfamiliar territory. However, there are a lot of resources providing free financial and emotional support. Find some of them here:

Wellbeing Support Resources

Coronavirus Information and Advice Resources

What have we been doing to respond to our clients’ changing needs?

At Notify, our entire business is centred around keeping workers healthier, more productive and safer at work. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic we have had to adapt as an organisation very quickly – and part of that means working from home.

We’re lucky in that the majority of our work can be done from home and we’re still able to ensure our product is being maintained and our clients are being looked after.

We have also added some new features to our product, Notify, including the ability to log a Coronavirus case (both suspected and confirmed) as part of our already existing ill health reporting feature. But our innovation doesn’t stop there, as we’ve also been building a homeworkers’ checklist, which is now available at no additional cost to all clients using our Audits & Inspections module.

The form aims to ensure anyone working from home has taken sufficient measures to create a safe working environment. It’s vital right now that Health & Safety professionals are showing extra vigilance when it comes to things like:

  • Workstation setup
  • Chair/desk posture
  • Comfort while working
  • Screen settings, positions, flicker and glare
  • Light levels
  • Taking regular breaks
  • Ill health reporting while at work

To find out more about what Notify can do for your business, why not sign up for a free Notify account and a member of our team will chat to you about your requirements and get you started…

And remember: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.

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