Tips for boosting your team’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus

Business Insights

By Craig Bulow, Corporate Away Days

During the ongoing period of coronavirus and the lockdown it’s important to consider how it’s affecting your staff.

I’m not talking about the medical aspects of how people can avoid or deal with contracting the virus, but rather the mental health impact of the uncertainty, the anxiety, and the isolation that the coronavirus is causing.

Here some tips for employers to help you look after the mental wellbeing of your team:

1) Dealing with stress

Your employees will continue to suffer from stress; about the virus, about loved ones, about whether they are doing a good job from home and, generally, about job security.

One proven way of alleviating stress is having clear, honest, regular conversations with your team. Put a time in your diary to speak to them - don’t leave it to chance.

Let them know what the business is doing, tell them the truth – don’t sugar coat it. Help people understand what the company is doing and what plans it has.

2) Clear lines of communication

In normal times there are established lines of communication and there needs to be clarity as to how this is replicated when working remotely. Employees will benefit from knowing who to call, when to call, and how to reach the right people if they have a query.

However, you also need to avoid being overwhelmed by phone calls!

An organised approach to managing call times, blocking out hour slots to receive or make calls to individuals or, a conference call for more general group discussions (see below) – will limit a deluge of phone calls.

3) Maintaining a sense of togetherness

Working from home means we lose the human connection we normally get with our colleagues.

Organising regular group conference calls using Zoom or Skype is a great step to help maintain this. Wherever possible, have video calls where you can all see each other. You can include time to talk about work, the latest developments of COVID-19 and any worries and concerns you have. Allow time for a chat about non-work-related issues too.

This way you can keep the connection your team enjoys in the office and even build upon it.

4) Providing one to one or group counselling

As an employer, it can be beneficial to offer staff some counselling, with an internal wellbeing / trained HR Officer or an external professional. You could offer this on a group basis as well via a group conference call.

The calls could be used to talk through various tools that can be used to reduce stress and anxiety; covering mindfulness techniques, sleep, rest, nutrition and diet and how to keep calm and focused.

5) Keeping people motivated

Encouraging your team to exercise is great for motivation and keeping their mental health strong. Suggest they lay a mat inside / outside and do stretches, push ups, sit ups, planks, some form of body strengthening as well as cardio.

Then ask your team to share their routines with colleagues, creating another topic for self-maintenance and the pandemic survival at home.

Importantly, trusting and empowering staff to work from home will be a great motivator in itself.

6) Future focus

Some of the best stress relivers are fun and laughter. Whilst there doesn’t seem much to look forward to right now, as time passes we will be able to see the end of the pandemic.

Giving your team something to look forward to, something exciting, would be a perfect way to keep them motivated, inspired and create a conversation / discussion on that group chat.

For example, an away day out of the office with a wellbeing theme, an activity that is inspiring and engaging that allows individuals to reconnect and rebuild connections after a long period of isolation. offer 27 live wellbeing events that aim to connected individuals from all corners of the workplace, at all levels.

7) Thanking everyone

Be creative – within budgets – to make sure your team knows you appreciate them. If you can’t afford a “back-to-normal bonus”, think of something that will make them glad to be returning to normality. Can you offer them each an extra week’s holiday or a fabulous summer party? Who knows, if they found they really thrived working remotely, perhaps doing that more often could be the reward!

Please put your team’s mental health high on your list of priorities. Employers can make a significant difference to how their staff handle the issues of working remotely. It’s also an investment that will keep your business healthy.