The ongoing challenges of managing COVID-19 in the UK continues to affect us all, in this article, we look at some ways you can support your teams’ mental health during these times.
This year continues to be a worrying time for business owners in the UK, and particularly for those in the hospitality and leisure sector. They have arguably been hit longest and hardest of all industries due to the nature of social distancing. Following the new tiered system along with the ‘rule of six’, track and trace and restricted operating hours, the sector continued to face new challenges over the course of the year. And while it’s important to make finances and operations a high priority, as employers it’s also vital you don’t neglect the impact on your teams’ mental wellbeing.
Moving forward, your teams are at the forefront of rebuilding your business, adapting to operational changes, and ultimately still delivering the guest experience customers are looking for when they venture out. So, looking after their mental wellbeing now is essential. But how do you do this? Here are some ways you can support your team’s emotional wellbeing.
1. Keep communication lines open
One of the simplest things you can do to help support your team members is to keep the lines of communication open. If you are currently not operating or you have staff furloughed, your team will feel reassured to receive updates from you as things develop. You may have team members self-isolating on their own or experiencing financial difficulties from not working as many hours or at all and may appreciate the support from their colleagues of an ongoing dialogue.
You could set up a Facebook group for your team members to communicate with each other and so you can check in with everyone from time to time. You could also utilise your CPL console to post updates and encourage people to share their news or tips for coping at home.
Another way you can keep up to date with your teams is by running surveys. You could utilise surveys to find out what your teams are concerned about or whether they would like you to share learning resources with them that focus on mental wellbeing.
2. Practical support
The hospitality industry is a huge community, and many companies are offering support and advice to business owners and their teams. You can help your own and your team’s mental wellbeing by sharing advice and support you find useful. This could be in the form of sharing the latest government updates for employers and workers, or from industry support networks such as the Licensed Trade Charity.
The Licensed Trade Charity can offer practical advice on finances, benefits and priority bills and expenses. The more informed you are, the better placed you are to support your teams.
There are other more general sources of mental wellbeing support as well, consider sharing resources from charities such as Mind to help your teams access support if needed.
3. Offer and share advice
Restrictions and guidelines are taking their toll on us all, and your team may well be struggling without their usual routines and motivation, especially if they are limited in seeing friends and family as well as having their normal working patterns disrupted. This is something that could negatively impact your team members’ mental wellbeing.
You could share resources about staying healthy and building a routine at home. A recent poll conducted by specialist insight provider CGA, revealed that 66% of adults have become more focused on health and wellness as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Adults reported that they were making changes to protect their health, such as changing their diet and how frequently they exercise. So, your teams might appreciate sharing tips about what is helping them cope with their new normal.
Reading or watching the news too often can also have a detrimental effect on mental health, especially as there is a lot of misinformation circulating. You can encourage your teams to stay informed by checking reputable sources, such as government and NHS websites.
Encourage mindfulness techniques that are easy to build into normal routines but can have a vastly positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.
4. Encourage learning and development
For furloughed teams, not having the routine of work can heighten anxiety about the situation and others may be feeling anxious about the future or struggling without seeing friends and family. You can provide your teams with learning and development resources that they can access at their own discretion. This can be helpful for those who wish to feel they are using the downtime productively and still working towards their personal goals. During the first lockdown, our Hospitality Professionals survey revealed that 64% of respondents actively sought personal and professional development resources. By encouraging your team to upskill while during periods of closure, your team will be in the strongest position when they return to work.
This doesn’t have to be costly. Thanks to the many resources being shared across the sector there are free webinars and e-learning courses that can be accessed, such as our own Mental Health Support Champion and Personal Resilience courses.
There’s so much you can do to help you support your team’s mental wellbeing and when we all start returning to normality, your team members will be in a positive mental state and be ready to work even harder for the employer that looked after them in tough times.