“there are people in workforces up and down the country who are trying to deal with mental wellbeing issues themselves, rather than reaching out for help….if that continues, they may struggle to function. They can go into what we call ‘survival mode’ which can manifest in absenteeism and presenteeism.”
Just some of the words shared by Tracey Paxton, one of the expert voices alongside Mind and REBA talking about Employee Wellbeing in today’s Guardian.
Tracey is the managing director of TERC, The Employee Resilience Company. Her company manages the psychological services that we offer to our customers; around one million employees across the public and private sector.
She talked to the Guardian about how employee mental wellbeing has been put under strain by issues such as the pandemic, financial uncertainty and global unrest.
Significantly she also shared her views on the importance of quick and decisive support being available when a colleague is struggling:
“to do this effectively, leaders and managers must have proper awareness training to spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health in staff, whether they are in the office or working remotely…”
The location, look and feel of workplaces and work patterns will continue to evolve far beyond these challenging pandemic years, but the constant needs to be that employers put their workforce’s health and wellbeing centre stage. We asked Tracey to share her top tips on how to create an environment inclusive of wellbeing:
- Lead from the top
If senior managers can be open about their own experience and vulnerability, it will send out a strong message to their workers that the company recognises this is a widespread issue and will be supportive.
- Adopt enhanced consultation
Opening up a dialogue with your employees will enable you to take a proactive approach to identified concerns rather than a reactive approach to problems at a later date. Feeling fully informed can be very reassuring to employees who are not quite sure what to expect of their post-pandemic workplace.
- Establish a strong support mechanism
We shouldn’t assume that providing colleagues with the compassion required is something that comes naturally to all line managers. Establishing a strong support mechanism is key so that they can coordinate action early and turn to those with HR and clinical expertise.
Effective wellbeing monitoring systems must be created, including for remote workers. Remote workers can be more prone to presenteeism and working longer hours. Mental health problems may develop without being immediately visible to line managers. As well as regular remote management conversations, line managers can arrange in-person meetings (in line with restrictions of the day) and should always take time to ask their staff how they are feeling.