With the health of the world’s citizens under the microscope during the current coronavirus outbreak, this week we pay close and deserved attention to our mental health in the U.K. Initiated by the Mental Health Foundation, and as a response to the pandemic in particular, the focus is firmly on kindness. At a critical point for many, who are perhaps starting to return to work, or a long way through being on furlough, or even continuing to work under difficult circumstances, our mental health needs extra care to engender the resilience that will see us all through.
Change is difficult for most, and we are in a constant state of change and unknowns at the moment. As employers, we need to be wary of this so that companies can return to a situation that will work going forward. After all, mental wellbeing is necessary for being able to work efficiently and also safely, so we should support our staff through this period using increased levels of kindness and understanding. Just as we’ve had to make huge technological adjustments in recent months, it is important not to forget that acknowledging the mental adjustments required to cope right now is equally critical for maintaining productivity through these times of uncertainty.
As many employees have just become used to working from home, or being on furlough, they are now expected to return under unknown circumstances. There may be worries about their own safety, about how dependents will be cared for, what work will be like in the ‘new normal’ and how they will transition, or even whether they will be able to return at all. There may be those who have to continue working from home and feel out of the loop, causing interpersonal issues between team members and role confusion.
Managing these concerns through constant, open dialogue and maintaining some flexibility in your approach will help. Planning for and anticipating the coming changes, though, is crucial. After all, where there is change, things have the potential and opportunity to go wrong. Learning from others who have experienced these changes before us is key.
As the virus continues, so does life. If we can treat each other with kindness and consideration, then that is a step forward in building the mental resilience we need to navigate this situation, and therefore the business resilience that is so desperately needed.