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COVID-19 Your workforce: supporting mental health when home working

24 March 2020. Published by Kelly Thomson, Legal Director and Patrick Brodie, Partner

Many of us are working from home during this crisis and while this can be an effective way of working for some, it is less happy for others; loneliness, caring for vulnerable dependants and challenging home environments are all being experienced. There may be members of your teams who fall into these categories.

Now that schools have closed, the burden will increase for many, especially those with very young children. The pressure will be increased for some, or even many, because grandparents, often being a source of support, will not be available. Juggling work and home life will become difficult.

Here are some practical steps we are taking:

  • Creating structure to our days – so looking to preserve a normal working day, but ensuring we have regular breaks.  We have mirrored (and modified) a school day, although a little longer!  So in effect a personal school timetable. This gives us structure and down-time.
  • We are encouraging each other to take time out to take exercise, even if that's a walk outside or morning stretches.
  • We look to stay connected.  Communicating becomes ever more important, not least to ensure we know what each other is doing, so that we can step in, for whatever reason, even at short notice.  Skype is now part of our working day.  This might be to catch up on work or even, reflecting our normal working days, to catch up over a 'coffee', talking about our day.
  • Holding friendly regular team check-in calls that allow us to share stories and chew the fat. Some of our teams are having daily "e-huddles" so that we still feel part of the team
  • We are going to the virtual pub! If your team regularly meets for a drink after work, all grab a tipple and raise your glass/cup while catching up with colleagues at the end of the day online. We have heard of some organisations that are holding virtual pub quizzes!

Various organisations have published notes and guidance on protecting mental health during this time. Here are some you may find useful:

Coronavirus tips for protecting your mental health during quarantine

 

COVID-19 social distancing wellness

 

Working from home tips for productivity mental health and staying healthy

 

Coronavirus and your wellbeing

 

If you would like some advice on this topic, please contact any member of our team:

 

Patrick Brodie

Kelly Thomson

Rachel Lord

Charlotte Reid

Joanna Holford

Victoria Othen