As restrictions in the UK come to an end, signalling a return to the office for many, how can you support mental wellbeing?
Now is a key time for demonstrating your commitment to supporting mental wellbeing. How smoothly the transition goes will directly impact your peoples wellbeing and their ability to maintain it and remain at work in the longer term. It helps to understand exactly what challenges their facing and how you can help:
Uncertainty feeds feelings of anxiety. If you want to decrease anxiety levels and increase confidence you need to demonstrate clarity. What are your expectations going forward? How are you managing social distancing and mask wearing? What if an employee wants to continue social distancing and wearing a mask? How are you going to support this? These are all questions you can pre-empt and prepare for. Even if they aren’t being asked directly, they are still there in people’s minds. If you don’t have the answers, be honest and let them know when you will have the answers. Honesty isn’t always comfortable but clarity is always kinder and better for mental wellbeing in the longer term.
They’re feeling vulnerable and psychologically unsafe:
When we’re focused on ensuring people remain physically safe its easy to overlook the importance of psychological safety. Reintegrating back into society and workplaces increases feelings of fear and vulnerability. How are you welcoming people back? A gentle return with small talk and authentic listening will help them to feel accepted and secure during a period of change. This can be an opportunity to build connections by sharing your own experiences. You may need to be prepared to have some conversations that you personally find uncomfortable but ask them what they need and what you can do to help. Even if they don’t have the answers, it is a valuable demonstration of your care and commitment to supporting their wellbeing and paves the way for future conversations.
They’re afraid of becoming overwhelmed:
Without exception everyone has had to find new ways to adapt over the last year. Are you able to accommodate the new ways in which they manage their time and emotional and physical resources? Maybe they need a later start time or more space between meetings. Or perhaps they’re more comfortable with smaller groups. Utilise the strengths and strategies they’ve developed over the last year to help prevent stress and burnout.
The last year has been life changing for everyone and after a prolonged period of stress, uncertainty and in some cases trauma it will take time for individuals and organisations to adapt once again and feel safe and secure in what the future holds. Whilst we can’t predict what comes next, we can strengthen our capacity to respond and move forward in ways that support wellbeing.
If you’d like to know more about how The Peachy Mind can work with you to promote resilience and wellbeing please get in touch to find out.