During these uncertain times businesses are making many difficult decisions which are constantly changing and adapting.
As businesses reopen and restrictions are lifting many staff are returning to work which may be face-to-face and for many, these changes will be contributing to higher levels of stress and anxiety. This uncertainty brings new challenges to our mental health and wellbeing.
- Mental health disorders, such as stress, anxiety and depression affect approximately 264 million globally and 1 million people in the UK.
- More than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health got worse during the period of lockdown restrictions, from early April to mid-May.
- Some people are experiencing anxiety around going back to their jobs, after working from home or not working for so long. They said they would like more guidance on how to deal with this transition back to work.
As we transition out of a long period of time with restrictions, there are issues we face around supporting staff’s concerns and needs. Our industry’s doors are re-opening and we are welcoming back visitors, some staff may remain working from home whilst the majority will be customer facing again.
Stress affects us all in different ways, and it is only normal to feel uncertain about what the future holds, so we’ve put together some tips on how you can support your staff.
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
1. Plan and prepare
Every workplace will now look differently with social distancing and hygiene measures in place. It is important that your staff are comfortable with what is expected of them and know what their individual employee responsibilities are.
Our government advice and FAQs page is updated with the latest on the likes of social distancing and track and trace. This is a helpful resource to keep you and your staff complying with the guidance.
Staff training is vital and should increase confidence, ensuring they feel that their workplace is a place that values their safety. This can also help demonstrate that businesses are taking the COVID-19 risks seriously and have adapted their working environment accordingly.
Starting a conversation about mental health doesn't have to be difficult.
2. Check in
It’s important to check in with your staff and make sure that they are coping with the ongoing changes.
As so many of us continue to work from home, we know that it can be isolating; ensure you and your team have regular check-ins virtually. By now we have worked out which online tool that works for staff 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. Mind.org recommends encouraging your team to complete a Wellness Action Plan and encourage them to share this with you.
Provide and promote access to mental health support for all employees, including awareness raising, and tools and techniques to manage mental health.
You can use 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.
It is clear that real engagement and dialogue with employees is crucial to organisations adapting successfully.
3. Assess the situation
Employers have a legal duty to make the workplace a safe working environment for all staff and it is important to keep assessing your risk assessments. Employers are required by law to conduct a COVID-19 Risk Assessment which will help to identity measures which can be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace.
Keep an open dialogue with managers and staff and make sure staff coming back to work are reassured that their safety and wellbeing are a priority.
Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
4. Reach out for support
Reach out if you need support for you or your staff. There are many hospitality related mental health support channels for the workplace:
- NHS – mental health support services are free on the NHS and offers a list of helplines, local support and information services near you.
- Mind – offer free national advice and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem with events and workshops that employees can attend to increase awareness.
- Health Assured – an online employee assistance programme which offers to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health and wellbeing.
- ACAS – provides advice and guidance for managers and businesses to enable them to support employee
- clearyourhead.scot – find other tips to help your staff cope as things open up.
- Hospitality Health – a Scottish charity to support staff in the world of hospitality, providing wellbeing advice and signposting to organisations that can help.
Advice resources for managers
Advice on how to implement a wellness action plan
Making adjustments to support your staff at work
Guide for line managers: what can you do to help a team member returning to work?
How to implement the Thriving At Work mental health standards in your workplace
NHS mental health campaign
The NHS has launched 'Resilience Campaign: Let’s See it Through'. This campaign looks to provide hope and encouragement to help build resilience during these challenging times.
Take a minute to watch the film and why not share amongst your colleagues, friends and family using #WeAreScotland.
Clear Your Head campaign
Clear Your Head campaign aims to help support people with their mental health, and provides simple tips to help cope and signposting to information and support.
The campaign has been designed to remind people that they’re not alone in feeling this way, providing simple tips that can help them cope, and signposting to information and support.
The ‘Right Care Right Place’ health campaign educates people on what NHS Scotland services they should use for different health issues. It is important that if our visitors become unwell during their stay, that we are able to advise on how to access the right health service within the NHS and avoid people defaulting to calling NHS 24 on 111.
They have created this handy document which can be printed and displayed in B&B's, hotels or attractions or used online. It can be downloaded via their dropbox.
Advice for individuals
There are a lot of online resources specifically designed to help you cope with stress and metal health issues. If you are feeling overwhelmed, help is available.
- The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has a lot of resources and information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and your mental wellbeing. It includes help with anxiety, OCD, supporting older and younger people, benefits, and coping with distressing news coverage.
- The Samaritans also provide information on the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) on mental health, you can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 116 123.
- You can phone Breathing Space for advice and support on 0800 83 85 87. You can visit the Breathing Space website for some tips on staying connected and other information.
- Ready Scotland is the official channel of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Division. It provides advice on finding extra support in times of crisis.
- If you have school age children in your household MyTutor gives advice about teen mental health, with useful tips and advice for parents to help their teens overcome body image issues, academic anxiety, peer pressure, and cyberbullying, and links to other important mental health resources.