October 23, 2020
Covid-19 Update: Supporting Mental Health In The Workplace
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With the Covid-19 crisis showing no sign of abating, mental health problems are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. As ever, CJC’s main priority is to ensure the health and wellbeing of our employees.

Gemma Skipper, Legal and HR Manager, CJC

Friday 23rd October 2020

As the days get shorter, darker and colder, returning to ‘normality’ remains out of reach and we continue to face more uncertainty and new challenges.

In times of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we take care of our mental wellbeing and look out for others. The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year. This year’s campaign came at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. With mental health problems becoming increasingly common in the workplace, a survey conducted by Cezanne HR showed that 49% of remote managers were feeling more stressed about managing staff than before and 42% of managers felt that supervising team members was the most challenging aspect of their role. As ever, CJC’s main priority is to ensure the health and wellbeing of our employees. As we approached WMHD, we opened a discussion with our management to find out how they’ve been coping with their new responsibilities over the last six months.

Key Results:

  • 72% of managers hold weekly team meetings

  • 80% of managers felt they were being properly supported by their own managers and had regular one to ones

  • 100% of managers felt they were being properly supported by HR

  • 44% of managers have regular informal meetings to encourage non-work related conversation, including coffee breaks, afternoon teas and Friday afternoon beers

Whilst the numbers look good regarding the support that the managers are giving and receiving, it’s vital that we continue to review our support mechanisms and make changes if necessary. With this in mind, there are four areas which require focus to ensure our management are receiving the support they need and can in turn offer the best guidance and support to their teams:

1. Access to Confidential Support

Employee Assistance Programmes are designed to provide confidential access to professional assistance for employees that are navigating life issues that may impact their ability to be productive in the workplace. CJC has offered an EAP for a long time, however the pandemic has highlighted the importance of this support service which allows managers (and all employees) the opportunity to speak in confidence a professional outside of work. An EAP is an investment in your people; it can help employees stay focused, increase their productivity and improve their overall wellbeing.

2. Providing Direction to Managers

HR should be providing guidance to managers around how to prioritise their time which in turn should alleviate some stress. Given the changes to our ways of working, there are many management styles and tasks that may not be necessary or appropriate now, so HR should be able to guide managers to make the most of their time whilst working remotely.

3. Communication Methods

Effective leadership benefits from effective communication. HR must ensure that they are communicating with all employees to manage change within an organisation. It may sometimes be appropriate for HR to adapt their messaging for different audiences e.g. training managers on how to spot mental health issues and giving them tools and the skills to support their team.

4. Offering Advice/Ideas on How Managers and Teams Can Engage Remotely

Whilst many of us are all ‘Zoomed out’, it is so important that HR continue to encourage managers to set up social chats to allow their teams plenty of opportunity to have non-work related conversations. The best way to combat loneliness and working at home fatigue is to maintain connection with colleagues, therefore the social element of work should never be forgotten. HR can play a vital role by offering advice and ideas to managers who may be struggling to think outside of the box or get their team engaged with the more informal meetings.

With the Covid-19 crisis showing no sign of abating, this year has been and continues to be a difficult time for everyone with added pressure to ensure we’re performing well under new ways of working. Though always mindful of the health and safety of our employees, CJC have remained open for business throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve worked diligently but safely to maintain our capability to deliver a world-class service and will continue to help our clients address the ‘new normal’ industry landscape. Internally, we will continue to offer guidance and support to our employees continuing this new-found working life which will hopefully lead to happier, healthier and more productive employees. After all, employee engagement is a symptom of success!

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