How we’re supporting the mental health of our staff through the global pandemic and national lockdowns


 

How we’re supporting the mental health of our staff through the global pandemic and national lockdowns.

 

With more and more people now working from home as the global pandemic continues to loom over us, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to think about the mental health of their staff and how best to support them through these unprecedented times. For many of us, the biggest challenge in enduring the coronavirus pandemic is the uncertainty about the future. As we try to manage the balance between our working lives with new expectations at home, we now face new uncertainties every day.

 

People who have normally coped well with their day-to-day life are starting to find that their health and well-being is being affected from a lack of contact with their work colleagues, as well as friends and family, who they have previously had close relations and daily contact with. A study in late November 2020 by the Mental Health Foundation shows that:

 

  • Almost half (45%) of the UK population had felt anxious or worried in the previous two weeks, which rose to 64% of respondents who have a pre-existing mental health condition.
  • A quarter of people (25%) reported feeling lonely in the previous two weeks.
  • Feelings of loneliness were higher in younger people, with 38% and 34% of people aged 18-24 and 25-34 respectively.
  • Seeing family freely (25%) or seeing friends freely (16%) were highlighted as ways that would help alleviate people’s feelings of loneliness.
  • Almost one in five (18%) of the population reported feeling hopeless, and nearly half (49%) reported feeling frustrated in the previous two weeks.
  • However, 61% of people reported that either being kind to others or receiving kindness from others has a positive impact on their mental health.

 

Here at IPSERV, we have been working hard to support our employees throughout these tough times with their mental health and to support loneliness. We’ve put a number of measures in place to offer support and to comfort those who need it.

 

Here at IPSERV, we have been working hard to support our employees throughout these tough times with their mental health and to support loneliness.

 

Our internal company intranet is packed full of useful information and includes the contact details for over 20 Mental Health First Aiders within our workplace.  This information is easy for our staff to find and is regularly updated and circulated.

 

One particular service that I personally recommend and have used regularly is called LifeWorks. I have found it to be a very compassionate and comforting programme that has helped me through these difficult times. LifeWorks is an employee assistance and wellness programme that can be used by individuals as well as family members that helps manage personal and work issues, and best of all it’s completely free to use.

 

Our internal company intranet is packed full of useful information and includes the contact details for over 20 Mental Health First Aiders within our workplace.

 

We have recently introduced a ‘Buddy Scheme’. The purpose of the scheme is to match employees who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation to other employees that have volunteered and offered their time as someone to talk with, to alleviate isolation and to help prevent feelings of depression. When someone signs up to our Buddy Scheme, we start a matching process to help find them a volunteer who can be there to talk when they need someone. Once the matching process is complete the employee and buddy can agree between themselves when, and how frequently they will be in touch with one another, as well as how they will communicate, whether that be via a simple telephone call or even an online video chat. The duration of how long two people will buddy up for is also completely dependent on the two parties involved as long as they are happy to continue supporting one another.

 

Working at IPSERV and being part of such a close-knit team helps me to feel as though I can approach any of my colleagues, and this truly means the world to me. I am honestly proud of and grateful for the network of people that we have because when it matters most, we are all there for one another.

 

Working at IPSERV and being part of such a close-knit team helps me to feel as though I can approach any of my colleagues, and this truly means the world to me.

 

At times we all need help, and if you need support with your mental health, or feelings of loneliness during these tough times help is available for you. There are lots of charities you can contact that provide someone to talk to who can help prevent feelings of loneliness or depression such as The Samaritans, Rethink Mental Illness, or even the Shout Crisis Text Line.

 

Tarnya Finnegan-McKew

Cleaning Services Manager

ipserv.co.uk

 


 

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