Returning to work and mental health

Many of us have begun to return to the office now and as this happens it’s apparent that mental health at work is going to be more fragile.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics paint an undeniable picture of mental health.

Since lockdown, the statistics show that overall our nation’s mental health has declined. Statistics for June 2020 when compare with July 2019 to March 2020 (pre-lockdown), shows that the number of adults experiencing some kind of depression has doubled.

The mental health charity Mind is concerned with the findings, showing a dramatic shift. Sophie Corlett, Director of External Communications at Mind said, “We cannot underestimate the impact the pandemic has had on the nation’s mental health… These figures show how the pandemic has affected people who were previously well and are now experiencing depressive symptoms for the first time.” This is very worrying to the charity as we have finally begun to see a shift of people taking mental health more seriously, and the overall picture beginning to improve, but the pandemic has definitely thrown a spanner in the works.

This is very important for employers and employees to bear in mind and consider ways to improve mental health at work going forward.

Returning to the workplace after quite some time could have led to a change in habits when it comes to looking after your mental health at work. Or, you may not have even had good habits to begin with. Regardless, these three habits are easy ways to promote better mental health at work and quickly can become second nature.

  1. Stop sending emails out of hours. Its important to not blur the line between work and our private lives, now more than ever.
  2. If you can’t listen, don’t ask. If you ask how someone is, make time to actually listen to the answer and really hear how they are.
  3. Smile and use positive body language. Make yourself more approachable, if you do this employees or employers are more likely to trust you with a problem.

Making sure to implement these habits into your day to day life may seem tricky to begin with, but after a while you won’t even realise you are doing them. If you need extra support yourself or for an employee the MyBenefitsZone platform is home to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which provides support 24/7. Get in touch with a member of the team to discuss how you can incorporate an EAP and strategy into your benefits.