Supporting your employees through COVID-19 and beyond

Healthy Living > Community > Supporting your employees through COVID-19 and beyond

Blog article | By Simplyhealth 22 June 2020

The world has changed dramatically in a matter of weeks. Eased only by the appearance of the sun, the Coronavirus has taken its toll on us all. However, if we look at the silver lining, mental health has been brought to the forefront of the agenda with the need for discussions around supporting mental health increasing – which can only be a good thing.

 

With this in mind, we wanted to share a few ways that you can support your employees’ mental health throughout this uncertain time, and beyond.

Easing financial worries

 

There’s a direct relationship between mental health and finances and, during these uncertain times, we are now seeing the impacts more prominently. A recent poll found that one in four employers expect to make redundancies as a result of Coronavirus[1]. Even those who are secure in their jobs will likely feel the ripple effects of those close to them being impacted. In turn, the stress and worry of adapting to a new financial situation can affect people at home, and at work.

 

To help, employers can:

 

  • Encourage openness. As you would with mental health, you should create a workplace environment that makes it okay for employees to discuss any financial concerns.
  • Communicate what’s available to help. Make sure that employees know what benefits are there to help support their financial situation. Things like employee discounts, travel loans, save as you earn schemes, pay advances or access to an employee assistance programme, can all help address the underlying concerns of a financial problem.
Promoting physical health

 

There’s a strong link between physical and mental wellbeing; evidence shows that exercising at least three times a week, can reduce the risk of depression by almost 20%[2]. This is important to bear in mind if you’re noticing that the effects of Coronavirus are beginning to take their toll on your workforce.

 

To help, employers can:

 

  • Allow flexibility within the working day. This could be a longer lunch break to allow employees to take some exercise in the sunshine, or perhaps a later or earlier finish so they can catch a Zoom fitness class or join in with the kids doing Joe Wicks’ morning P.E!
  • Offer health benefits. 94% of organisations offer one or more health promotion benefit to employees[3]. These can range from subsidised gym memberships and health screenings, to free eye tests and flu vaccinations. A preventive healthcare initiative such as a health cash plan can also be a great way to help employees maintain their physical wellbeing.

 

Mental health should remain a constant, year-round focus. So whether you’re relaxing your policies, or looking at new ways to better support your employees during this period, consider how these measures could be extended post-lockdown, where mental health support might be more crucial than ever before.

 

 

1. People Management: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/one-in-four-expect-to-make-redundancies-coronavirus

2. Mind: www.mind.org.uk

3. CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work 2019 report

More information

For more detailed and up to date information, please visit the Government website: COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses

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