Employers are being encouraged to do what they can to support the mental health of their workforce as more people work from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Towergate Health & Protection has released its top tips on supporting staff, who may be experiencing heightened stress and anxiety about the virus.
The tips include ensuring staff are supported with adequate technology and good telephone support, introducing a structure and etiquette guidelines for virtual meetings and keeping in touch with staff to alleviate feelings of loneliness.
“Regular phone calls, video calls and virtual meetings all help maintain communication around policy developments with coronavirus and – as importantly – help employees to continue to feel engaged and part of the team,” it said.
Towergate added that businesses that offer benefits such as employee assistance programmes (EAPs), virtual GPs, health and wellbeing apps or direct lines to mental health specialists are likely to find that these benefits are coming into their own.
“Revisiting existing benefits and considering what other support services may be beneficial to offer, can be extremely valuable to a workforce that may be experiencing new or heightened mental health concerns as a result of the coronavirus outbreak,” it suggested.
Brett Hill, distribution director at Towergate Health & Protection, said the first consideration in the wake of coronavirus is physical wellbeing, but staff need much fuller support if they’re expected to work from home, and to remind them that they’re still part of the team.
“Understanding that it may take a toll on their mental health and thinking through some of the ways pressure can be alleviated, will help employees to manage themselves more effectively in the short and longer term,” he added.