With many businesses looking to bring teams back either from furlough or from an extended period of working from home, the risk of a second wave of infections or putting their families in unnecessary danger is impacting people’s desire to come back to their workplace. The worry and fear in that returning to work in a traditional way may have a negative impact on employees, which, will, in turn effect their productivity, is at the fore front of most peoples mind. It is of upmost importance that a return to work from a mental health perspective is explored and dealt with in a sensitive manner.

Communication

This is key in any organisation and the ability to offer help and services to alleviate any concerns needs to be the first step taken.  Employees need to not only feel confident that their safety has been put first, but also need to know that the business has a support mechanism in place which will allow, them, without worry to access and utilise. It is also up to managers to help create an environment of transparency and open communication, where employees are comfortable opening up, feeling no shame or guilt for discussing and dealing with personal issues or fearing potential consequence

Compromise

Not everybody’s experience of this pandemic will have been the same, and not everybody ‘s views will be the same. A return to work from a mental health perspective may be easier for some than others. A mixed approach of working from home and a return to the office environment may help to dispel fears, and a staggered shift pattern to combat crowds may be an alternative solution.

Accessing Support

Although borne out of necessity for some, accessing services virtually, has become the new norm and if any positivity is to be gained from Covid, it is that mental health awareness has been not only hi-lighted, but excelled into the public eye and this has resulted in a huge influx of services to assist with concerns. In an effort to address this issue, the new Assurance Assessment Service, launched recently by the British Safety Council provides guidance for employers looking to tackle wellbeing issues in the workplace. It acts as a guide for businesses and organisations from all sectors regarding best practices to implement in the workplace, ensuring the wellbeing of its employees as we continue to adjust to this new way of living and working.

How the Assurance Assessment Service can help

Providing guidance regarding employee wellbeing – focused specifically on the need for risk and health assessments, mental health training for managers and designated employees, as well as the identification of vulnerable staff to help decide the best course of action for their return to work.

The Assurance Assessment Service also advises businesses on the best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19, the need for workplace adjustments where required and the importance of communication between employees.

We all have mental health, and whatever our circumstance this outbreak  is going to have an impact on how we think and feel about ourselves and the world we live in. Good work is great for our mental health and it’s important that we preserve the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of work wherever we can.   Everyone is finding their own path and things might not always go to plan. It is important to be kind to yourself and to be kind to others as we all find our way.

For further information on returning to work from a mental health perspective and advice on other health and safety issues, please contact us here.