MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING ON THE RETURN TO WORK AND OFFICE
According to a new Office for National Statistics data (May 21) a staggering one in five of us experienced some form of depression during the latest lockdown. Sadly record numbers of children and adults sought NHS help last year for problems such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders or because they ended up in a mental health crisis. For many people anxiety is increasing, exacerbated by the uncertainty around exactly how the return to work will unfold and whether they will be able to adjust again to different work patterns.
We are now working with organisations to create digital learning that will help reduce employee anxiety on the return to work. Mental health training can assist employees on recognising the signs of stress, anxiety and depression and how to approach others that are showing those signs.
With an increase in employee anxiety alongside the ambiguity surrounding the return work, employers must now actively reassure their employees that the well-being and safety of all staff is being prioritised. Below we have adapted approaches taken in mental health training to specifically help reduce anxiety on returning to the office.
ACTIONS EMPLOYERS CAN TAKE TO REDUCE EMPLOYEE ANXIETY WHEN RETURNING TO WORK AND THE OFFICE
- Be flexible and try to accommodate all needs (WFH, household situations, underlining health issues)
- Be honest – try to be transparent about the business performance and job security. People generally prefer to be involved in fixing problems rather than surprised by sudden dramatic news
- Be kind – tell people they be given time to adjust to the new ways of working
- Communicate new safety measures being taken (social distancing, changing working hours, sanitation measures)
- Demonstrate new behaviours – if a leader is open about their mental health others will follow.
- Listen – create a culture where employees can regularly share their concerns, as people’s feelings can change quickly over time
- Keep listening – ask people for their feedback, don’t guess what is causing anxiety. Explain why you are asking for their input and then demonstrate you have listened
- Provide training – Make sure existing relevant employee training and development is accessible and updated
- Build understanding – Share advice about how to spot if you (or a colleague) are showing signs of mental fatigue, and how to take positive steps to address the issue
a DIGITAL LEARNING approach to mental health training
We are all faced with additional anxiety and stress at the moment, but for some people that’s harder to talk about than the virus itself. However, we can educate ourselves and our teams about mental health right now, using digital based learning, not wait until we return to the workplace.
Last year we ran our own poll asking people about the specific issues surrounding the return to work, to help organisations find effective support solutions. The clear majority (66%) of people are feeling anxious about the return to work, and the results to our snapshot poll help explain why.
With new research coming to light we still find ourselves asking difficult questions surrounding employee wellbeing in the workplace and the role that digital learning can play.