Supporting staff with mental health this winter
Time to Talk Day falls on Thursday 2nd February 2023 and is a charity led initiative that aims to break the social stigma of speaking about our own mental health – whether that is at home or in the office.
With a recent survey finding that three out of four UK employees who returned to the office post-pandemic now wish to work remotely to save money amid the cost-of-living crisis1, it’s critical that employers and line managers have the necessary tools, resources, and mental health policies in place in order to support their staff and help remove stigmas.
Adrian Matthews, Head of Employee Benefits MetLife UK says: “Against the backdrop of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, job security concerns and the dark winter months, Time to Talk Day is a timely reminder for us all to check in on our colleagues. Employers can use this opportunity to reconnect with teams and reappraise what emotional wellbeing support they are providing.”
Adrian shares tips to help employers and line managers better support their staff’s mental health this year onwards:
- Face to face touchpoints – Face to face events are increasingly important in a hybrid working environment and provide valuable touch points for both employees and employers. Open huddles, breakfast or lunch drop in events or social / volunteering events are all great ways to encourage a greater connection.
- Understand the support available – Your group benefits package will provide a host of services to support employees (and their families) at their time of need, however big or small. From a virtual GP service helping to ensure an employee can see a GP, to dealing with the loss of a loved one – there are services to help. Contact your Group Risk provider to ensure you are maximising all the help that is available. Providers often enhance or add new services to their offering, so the new year is a good time to check in with them to ensure you are maximising the support available.
- Communicate benefits clearly – Once you are clear on all the support available to your employees, create a simple calendar of activity for the year ahead to drip feed the information through. Leveraging digital signage used to be great when most were in the office all week. With the growth of hybrid working, ensure you have a mix of communication channels to disseminate your messages. Also, consider that in most instances, employees will need to access information outside of working hours, so an app or hard copies can be helpful as a point of reference.