How to support mental wellbeing while working from home

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Blog Article | By The Simplyhealth Team 19 May 2020

Mental health challenges affect us all


One in six people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem[1]. That's a statistic we can't escape. And when you look at the current lockdown situation, it's hardly surprising work is a significant contributor. You've got workforces up and down the country facing the challenge of remote working, coupled with increased stress, anxiety, and confusion.


As well as having an impact on your employees, mental wellbeing issues can also impact on you as an employer. Companies can suffer lost productivity, decreased motivation, and increased long-term absence. The 2020 CIPD and Simplyhealth Health and Wellbeing at Work report found that 59% of the UK's long-term absence is caused by mental ill-health and three-fifths of organisations have seen an increase in reported mental ill-health over the past 12 months.


The CIPD Report 2020 has emphasised the importance of having line managers and senior leaders engaged in an organisation’s efforts to manage stress[2]. At Simplyhealth, we've come up with a list of signs to look out for in your workplace, and actions to help support your colleagues who are battling a mental health illness.

How to spot the signs of poor mental health


First of all, ensure you’re supporting line managers by providing them with guidance and education on how to spot the early signs of possible mental health problems within their teams. Put plans in place for managers or your HR team to help support and/or broach the subject with any employees who may be struggling.


Signs of someone suffering could include but not be limited to:


  • Changes in their behaviour, mood or the way they interact with their colleagues
  • A decrease in their work output, motivation levels and focus
  • Struggling to make decisions, get organised, and find solutions to problems
  • Appearing tired, anxious, or withdrawn and losing interest in activities and tasks they previously enjoyed

How to support a colleague suffering from low mental wellbeing


  • Try to encourage them to communicate their problems
    It may be difficult for them to open up, but it's good to talk. It doesn't necessarily have to be with you; maybe encourage them to speak to a relative or close friend about what they're experiencing.
  • Reassure them that help is available
    This can include help from their GP, or through your Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). As an example, Simplyhealth's myWellbeing portal provides details of how to access a confidential 24-hour, 7 days a week advice and counselling phone line.
  • Ask your employee what they need from you to feel supported
    It may be as simple as a weekly catch up, support with a heavy workload, or extending a few deadlines. Showing you care and are there for them will make them feel valued.
  • Encourage them to get active
    Regular exercise will help lift their mood, reducing stress and anxiety. Increasing their activity levels doesn't mean they have to run a marathon; a gentle 30-minute walk during their lunch break will help them to clear their head and boost their mood.
  • Offer continual support
    After an initial discussion and encouraging your employee to seek help and support, ensure you book a series of follow-up reviews to aid them with their progress.

More information and resources for Mental Health Awareness Week from the Mental Health Foundation are available here.




  2. CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work 2020 report

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