24 August 2020

Supporting Your Team's Mental Health in Uncertain Times

Managing teams can be a challenging part for many in leadership roles. Then along comes a global pandemic, an acute remote working situation, and a whole wave of uncertainty in many workplace sectors. Below are some simple tips that can support you and your teams during this time.

  • Become familiar with the Return to Work Safety Protocol and in particular Section 7c which specifically mentions mental health in the workplace.
  • Ensure that your organisation is only using trusted sources of information that are using evidence-based data on the Covid-19 pandemic e.g. HSE. HSA. Healthy Ireland, SOM, Mental Health First Aid Ireland. Factual reporting helps us problem solve in our prefrontal cortex whereas speculative reports can be often misleading and may overload our amygdala and cause the threat system of our brain to kick-in.
  • Self-Care has never been more important. Encouraging our teams to remember to practise self-care through maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important but moreover at times where there is uncertainty in our lives. Physical Activity can help boost our mood, yet at stressful times it can be challenging to get motivated. Exercise, nutrition and rest all contribute to our physical wellbeing but are also core building blocks for our emotional and mental resilience.
  • Communication is key in supporting our teams. A communication tool for example Trello, Teams, Slack, Zoom can be utilised according to your organisation’s firewall for communication on projects, staff meetings, informal work catch-ups. Communication supports our social need that work provides. Lack of social support in the workplace is a common workplace stressor.
  • Ensure your teams have access to your organisation’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) if you have one. Send an email with links reminding your employees that they have free access to the programme and that is a confidential service.
  • Offer all workers access to workplace mental health and wellbeing training.
  • Get support from a workplace health consultant. There are many fully qualified and experienced in this space and they will advise you and signpost you to the best supports available for your particular needs as a workplace manager in supporting mental health for your teams.
  • Build a workplace wellbeing strategy and form a workplace wellbeing steering group.
  • Invest in your own mental health. Take the time to support your own personal wellbeing by including self-care practises into your lifestyle.

Author Dorothy Scarry is owner of Workplace Health and Wellbeing Ltd, the leading organisation to support evidence-based training in workplace health and resilience across sectors. Dorothy holds a MSc in Workplace Health and Wellbeing from Nottingham University.

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