Businesses warned COVID may have a lasting psychological impact
As we start the readjustment back into the workplace, businesses are being warned that COVID may have a lasting psychological impact. We need to be considering how this is managed and take time to focus on the wellbeing of our staff.
In a recent article on 21st May 2020, in People Management, Emma Mamo, head of the workplace wellbeing at mental health charity Mind said there was a need ‘…to solicit regular feedback and make changes where possible to support their wellbeing during this return.’
Finding the time, energy, and resource to provide personal and proactive care for staff has often been the most challenging task I have encountered in my 40-year working career. During my time in both the public and private sectors, I have often been so busy managing my workload, dealing with the never-ending task list, and trying to take care of myself in doing so, that I just didn’t have the time or capacity. I’m sure I’m not alone?
The COVID lockdown has already led to many staff being challenged to adjust to remote working, for most, an entirely new concept. Now, they are about to be faced with a return to the ‘new normal’ and everything that entails.
Ignore this re-engagement from a mental health perspective at your peril! Many will be coming back to work having developed stress, anxiety, extreme tiredness etc. during the lockdown. Trying to keep all the plates spinning… work, children, household tasks, parents…and all within the confines of their home. They haven’t had the ‘oasis’ that the workplace has often provided. For sure it will have taken its toll.
COVID-19 and mental health
On 20th May the CIPD (the lead body for HR practitioners) stated, ‘early indications suggest that the pandemic (and measures taken by the government to control it such as lockdown and social distancing) will have a significant impact upon the mental health of employees. It is very possible that these mental health implications will be felt for many months and even years. As early as two weeks into lockdown, employees were reporting a range of health effects including negative impacts on mental health and overall well-being.’
The CIPD has produced a GUIDE that outlines considerations and provides advice for employers, people professionals and people managers on how employee mental health can be supported as lockdown ends and there is a phased return to the workplace.
The CIPD suggests ‘Measures will need to range from supporting employees to regain an effective work-life balance and addressing fears about a return to work, right through to support for severe mental health conditions’ and also a reminder that employers have a duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. This includes mental health and well-being.
This month, The Centre for Mental health has published a report Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health: Forecasting needs and risks in the UK and produced this graph. The report can be downloaded here
The report concludes that “The prevalence of mental ill-health in the UK today is already high – with one in four people affected by some kind of mental health difficulty at any time. It would seem likely that Covid-19 will bring about some increase in prevalence over the coming months, and quite possibly for a number of years. While it is difficult to quantify that increase at this early stage, we can expect to see at least 500,000 more people experiencing mental ill-health if the economic effects of the pandemic mirror those of the 2008 banking crisis.”
How do P3 help you and your people?
In last month’s BLOG I suggested we couldn’t just expect employees to return to work and just ‘get back to normal’. You need to understand how the pandemic has impacted your employee’s personal connection to the culture of your organization and if employees feel their organisations have been and are, caring for them.
The support offered by P3 Business Care is no longer a nice to have but a necessity if you are to effectively manage the return to work of your staff and provide the best care for them and yourself.
1. You need to be providing opportunities for PERSONAL engagement. Give employees the opportunity for face to face, independent and confidential conversations. They need to be able to download their experiences of lockdown and the challenges they have faced.
2. You need to be PROACTIVE. Don’t wait until a problem surfaces, go after it! The engagement of staff with their P3 Business Partners is incredibly quick. A recent client testimony revealed, ‘We were pleasantly surprised that within the first two weeks comprising of four visits relationships and trust were already being established and one-to-one sessions being booked.’ Identifying and addressing issues before they become a crisis is a win for all concerned
3. You need to be in PARTNERSHIP. To quote Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” If we can demonstrate Partnership with the company and employee, partnership with the company and P3, and partnership with the employee and P3 it will produce a positive outcome, as evidenced by our client testimonials.
About P3 Business Care
P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Supporting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive care to your employees working in partnership with the company. We develop trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become crisis, absence, or staff turnover. Read more about our services here