Living with uncertainty
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has turned our usual lives, the plans we have made, upside down.
We did not think it would be like this now, where it seems the only certainty is uncertainty. The summer loosening of restrictions has now turned full circle with changes to restrictions occurring both frequently and introduced at little or no notice. We can no longer be certain that plans we have made – for example, simply seeing friends or attending those major family events – will happen.
All this can take a toll on our mental health and ability to cope
SMEs are not often able to offer the same structured level of support for employees as larger companies, where office comms and intranets point to Employee Assistance Programmes offering 24/7 support. So, what can you do?
How to spot when colleagues need support
Our bodies are built to cope with short-term stress, but ongoing exposure to stressors can lead to ill-health. At any one time, one worker in six will be experiencing depression, anxiety or issues relating to stress. Taking a proactive approach at work will help your team cope and stay well.
Changes to our lives have meant working environments have changed too. Increased levels of home-working means those informal conversations with colleagues are less likely to happen. It’s easier to spot when colleagues aren’t their usual selves when you’re used to seeing each other on a daily basis.
- Make time to regularly check-in with your colleagues
- Ask, ‘how are you doing?’
- Make time to really listen, especially to what is not being said
- Organise virtual team wellness coffee catch-ups; a great way to get coping tips from each other and to offer support
- Find fun ways to celebrate success
- Encourage habits we can control
- Living in the present – focusing on today. Here’s where practising mindfulness techniques can help too
- Establishing routines – little things, taking opportunities to be kind to ourselves
- Exercise – which alleviates stress too
- Signpost self-help support resources e.g.
https://www.mind.org.uk has an extensive range of support materials, including exercises for practising mindfulness:
- assume your team feel the same way you’re feeling right now – everyone will have a different perspective and experience
- think your call won’t make a difference
- be afraid to speak when you think someone is struggling
For more information, please contact a member of the HR team on 01274 864 999.