The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us in many ways, but none more than our mental health. With the months of lockdown, restrictions and uncertainty, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll and made a significant impact on our mental health. According to research from MIND, more than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health got worse during the lockdown.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, a staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.
The benefits of supporting your employees’ mental health can result in:
• Improved productivity
• Fewer days of sick leave
• Better employee engagement
• Lower recruitment cost
What does mental health refer to?
Mental health issues can range from feeling mildly unhappy to common problems such as anxiety and depression and more severe diagnoses such as bipolar disorder.
Look out for signs that one of your employees may be experiencing mental health problems. For example, they may be:
• Unable to concentrate and easily distracted
• Irritable and aggressive
• Less talkative and avoiding social activities
• Tired and/or tearful
• Unable to control their emotions
• More prone to drink alcohol
• Physically ill, for example, with headaches or fatigue
• Overwhelmed and unable to perform to their usual standards
Supporting an employee with mental health
Employers have a ‘duty of care’. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. Most employees who experience mental health problems can continue working successfully.
Here are some tips on how you can support your employees:
• Make it clear that the mental wellbeing of all your employees is a top priority.
• Raise awareness of mental health issues via your internal communication channels.
• Ensure you flag up the various sources of help and support that different organisations and charities can offer your employees.
• Hold regular one-to-one staff appraisals and informal chats to help monitor your employee’s mental wellbeing.
• Raise any concerns you have with individual employees confidentially and in a non-judgemental way. Make it clear you want to help and support them.
• Have an ‘open door’ policy so your employees know they can have a confidential discussion with you at any time.
• Make sure your employees are clear about their job role and expectations – being unsure can raise anxiety levels.
• Consider offering flexible working arrangements to help your employees with their work/life balance.
• Encourage your staff to work sensible hours, take full lunch breaks and make sure they rest and recuperate after busy periods.
The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) is the Uk’s largest trade body for businesses working in the hair, beauty and barbering industries.
NHBF Members have access to resources including:
• Guide to absence management: nhbf.co.uk/absencemanagement-guide
• Legal support through its helpline
• Updated blog post on a variety of subjects including dealing with stress: nhbf.co.uk/dealing-with-a-stressed -salon-or-barbershop-employee/
• Health assured app through NHBF rewards
Join the NHBF before the end of October 2021 and quote MBO25 to get £25 off your membership fee. Find out more: nhbf.co.uk