We know that many of us are worrying about the current situation around coronavirus and how it might affect our lives. It's likely that we'll be working from home for longer periods of time to help keep us all safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, it's important we recognise how it may affect our mental health and ensure we are taking care of ourselves and our colleagues.
Our Head of Workplace Wellbeing Emma Mamo has put together some tips for line managers about how they can support their team's wellbeing as well as their own while working remotely or from home.
It's easy to work longer hours and take fewer breaks when working from home. Why not put a reminder in your diary when you plan to finish working? You can also make sure you take at least a 30-minute lunch break. If you can, try to get some fresh air and go for a short walk. It's important you look after your own wellbeing so you can also be there to support your team.
Working from home can be isolating; ensure you and your team have regular check-ins virtually. Find an online tool that works for your team whether it's Microsoft teams, a conference call facility like Skype or by phone. Make sure these regular check-ins are scheduled in advance with your team members: have some daily scheduled chat time with each of them and regular time in the diary as a team.
Working remotely will require consideration as to how you will deliver work as a team - what collaborative working platforms will be used, how you will communicate and how you support each other through challenges. Some of it might be trial and error so it is also important to think about how you will reflect on what's working and what isn't.
This is an uncertain and worrisome time for many and your team may need additional support. Why not encourage your team to complete a Welllness Action Plan (WAP) and encourage them to share this with you. If they already have one then it would be helpful to review in light of recent developments and changes. This can be looked at and kept up to date during 1-2-1s.
Everyone can complete a WAP, you don't need to have a mental health problem in order to feel the benefits. It just means that you already have practical steps in place to ensure you are supported when you aren't feeling great.
Use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype or other communication/collaborative working platforms to connect with colleagues and work together. It's can also be good idea to use a range of technologies so you're not always typing or looking at a screen – switch things up with a telephone call or video call so you can see someone face to face.
Whatever wellbeing support your organisation has available, make sure your team knows about it and how to access it.
At Mind, we're offering counselling sessions via skype or phone and we will be trailing the physical activity classes that we offer online. You could also ask your team what tools they might find useful.
We know that this is a worrying time for everyone with lots of uncertainty and potentially difficult choices for both employees and employers. Find more guidance via the Mental Health at Work coronavirus toolkit which brings together a selection of helpful online resources to support people at work with their mental health during this period. If you're worried about your mental health more generally, please take a look at our information around mental health and coronavirus.