5 ways to support your team’s mental health in lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have highlighted how important, and precarious, our mental health can be during prolonged periods of uncertainty.

Managers and organisations will most likely have an action plan in place to help employees with mental health issues. But with more employees having to work remotely or from home, it’s harder to keep an eye on the more vulnerable members of your team.

Even employees who are still office-based or have no previous mental health issues may find the challenges faced by the pandemic overwhelming at times.

Here’s how you can help.

1. Encourage good work-life balance

Working from home makes it harder to log off at the end of the day. It can be easy to work longer hours or feel pressured to because you no longer spend time commuting to the office. While there may be days you have to work longer, aim to finish work at an agreed time most days. Taking a lunch break is a must, and make sure you get some fresh air too, even for just 20 minutes.

As a manager, you need to look after your mental health too. This will enable you to support your team and be there if, and when, they need you. Encourage staff to stay active and to take advantage of meditation apps, such as Calm or Headspace.

2. Keep talking

While working from home can mean not having to wear a suit every day, it can also be incredibly isolating. Make good use of tech to check in with your team, whether it’s via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype. You might want to set up a WhatsApp group too, for those team members who find virtual conferencing a challenge.

Make sure you schedule team meetings, ideally once a week. Depending on the size of your team, it may also be a good idea to book shorter daily catch-ups.

3. Be patient

You may find these new ways of working take some trial and error before you find the perfect balance. What tech your team uses and how you choose to communicate may need to evolve.

You can see whether things are working by checking on your team’s energy levels. This can be a good indicator of whether your new working practices are draining or empowering them. When you are in meetings or doing 1-to-1s, truly listen to your team and give them space, to be honest about how they feel.

Find out whether anyone in your team needs extra support. Encourage your team to use tools such as Mind’s Wellness Action Plan. At some point, even the most resilient team member may struggle to cope.

4. Take advantage of technology

Don’t save Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp for business meetings – you can also set up spaces for employees to chat with each other more casually. Even a virtual office party could boost morale. Technology can also help ease other burdens, such as compliance.

Make use of technology that can help your team stay compliant. Trailblazer has been specifically designed for UK-based financial advisers, from individual advisers to larger organisations and networks. Trailblazer’s app allows your team to record information in real-time from anywhere and it can be updated back in the office via the desktop client management system.

5. Be kind

As a manager, you cannot be expected to always know which team members are vulnerable or at greater risk of mental health issues. But it’s helpful to assume that all of your team needs compassion and each of them may, at some point, need your support.

Consider a company-wide stress survey and think about how company policy can help deal with future challenges to the mental health of all your employees.

If you need help with your compliance, we’re here to help.  Contact us to request a Trailblazer demo and a free trial.