Employee Wellbeing & Mental Health During COVID Crisis

20/04/2020 Samantha Grimes

HR Manager for ISOLAS LLP & Fiduciary Management Ltd, Hayley Xerri, discusses why it’s important for companies to support their employees at such unprecedented times.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that employers support the wellbeing and mental health of their workforce. We are all facing major changes to our daily lives; whether this is adjusting to working from home, living in isolation, or following social distancing guidelines. The strict lockdown measures introduced in Gibraltar and Spain mean that many people are unable to see their family and friends.

Feelings of stress and anxiety may be heightened, as negative news reports on COVID-19 crisis are rife. This has made it essential for companies to have the necessary HR support and employer reassurance throughout these difficult and challenging times.

Having studied psychology at university, with a particular interest in occupational psychology, it was invaluable to learn that our working environment plays a significant role in our psychological health, and that organisations must focus on creating a positive working environment for their personnel.

This is likely to become increasingly more challenging to achieve, and greater initiatives may need to be introduced in order to support employee wellbeing. Our staff are our most valuable business resource, and maintaining their wellbeing is crucial in order to optimise organisational success. As employers, we have a fundamental duty of care for the mental health and wellbeing of our employee, and this should be a core element of any HR strategy.

The Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) advocate that an integrated approach to employee mental health and wellbeing can nurture heightened levels of employee engagement, while fostering a workforce where people are committed to achieving organisational success.

Within ISOLAS LLP and Fiduciary, we recognise the importance of our employees’ wellbeing to our success. We understand that in order to be productive and engaged, our employees need to feel supported and have access to the right resources.

As part of our wider employee wellbeing initiative, we have recently collaborated with employee wellbeing platform LifeWorks, where our employees can access articles, podcasts, videos and online programmes to support their mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing. Furthermore, the platform also offers 24/7 access to a confidential employee assistance programme which our employees can use if they want to speak to a qualified councillor, no matter what time of the day. All calls to the EAP line are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the scope of support offered will be clinically appropriate and may include referral to structured counselling sessions if necessary.

A particular useful feature of the app is that it incorporates an employee newsfeed, where we can regularly post interesting and relevant wellbeing articles/links to useful resources, for all our staff to access. The platform also allows employees to give recognition and praise to each other publically, which has also been proved to promote employee wellbeing in the workplace.

You can read more on the app here: https://www.lifeworks.com/uk/ 

While we will no doubt emerge from this pandemic, it is crucial for HR professionals and employers alike to recognise that, whilst the COVID crisis will pass, the importance of maintaining good mental health and employee wellbeing in the workplace should always continue to be a top priority.

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