How to safeguard your team’s mental health

Last week it was Mental Health Awareness Week and it got us to thinking how to safeguard your team’s mental health.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a significant amount of change and upheaval onto you and your team – in a very short amount of time. We’ve gone from ‘business as usual’ to closed offices, working from home and the full reality of isolation during an emergency lockdown.

To combat this change, it’s important to take steps to care for your employees.

How to safeguard your mental health

Key ways to take care your team’s wellbeing include:

There’s no single solution when it comes to taking care of your employees’ wellbeing. For your people to cope with their new enforced remote working life, they’ll need to consider everything from work/life balance, to fitness, exercise or their own mental wellbeing.

As a leader, your advice, tips and support will be vital to your workforce during these testing times. Important areas where you can provide guidance may include:

  • Getting used to remote working – Switching from working in a busy communal workspace to being isolated in your own home is a huge shift. Provide as much guidance as you can and send your team links to useful remote working resources. You can also check out our previous blog post on Working From Home and we also did a Facebook live which you can watch a recording of below.
  • Keeping in contact with each other – team spirit is a hugely important thing to preserve, even when your people are spread over different locations. It’s crucial that your employees can communicate with each other in real-time, whether it’s instant messaging, like Slack or WhatsApp, or the many different video conferencing platforms, such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams.
  • Sticking to some form of routine – a big part of any working day is routine. Having a clear routine provides structure for your employees day and makes it easier for them to know when they should be working, and when they should be relaxing.
  • Being conscious of work/life balance – as per the previous point, when you work at home, it’s imperative to get the balance right between ‘work time’ and ‘home time’. Give your team a rough idea of what hours they should be working, and between which times, but let them be flexible about how they use that time.
  • Having frequent breaks away from work – another very important element of the working day is breaks. In a normal workspace, tea breaks and catch-ups serve to break up the working day, so make sure your team take regular screen breaks. It’s a chance to relax and let your mind recharge.
  • Taking regular exercise – when you’re cooped up at home, it’s tempting to sit all day. But we all need some form of exercise during the day to keep us energised, fit and healthy. Whether it’s following a YouTube exercise routine, or running around the block, ensure your team does something to get the blood flowing.
  • Focusing on mindfulness and mental health – Taking measures to reduce stress and become more calm is vital for your team’s mental health. Try yoga or meditation to destress, and suggest they explore mindfulness apps like Headspace and Calm to introduce them to new techniques.
  • Limiting exposure to news and social media – watching rolling news reports on the pandemic, or constantly getting notifications from your social media accounts, serves only to add to your team’s stress levels. Suggest that they check the news via one trusted source once a day, but try not to let themselves be bombarded with updates.

How have you and or your team found the transition to working from home? What have been the challenges? How are you/have you been supporting your team’s mental health through lockdown? Share your tips and best practice with our community.

As always, stay safe.