Covid - Mental Health Quick Wins

Employee mental health and wellbeing continues to be one of the main topics of discussion that has arisen as a side-effect of the coronavirus crisis; or more accurately, that has arisen as a side effect of the restrictions that have been imposed in order to stop the spread of the virus.

The Government is holding its cards very close to its chest regarding any potential relaxation of lockdown restrictions, insisting that it will abide by the science. The First Minister for Wales has expressed some optimism that the end of the stay-at-home rule is in sight. Northern Ireland on the other hand has already said that lockdown there will continue until at least 1st April. We should expect Mental Health issues to continue to be a cause for concern.

As an HR and Training consultancy we’re doing our utmost to practice what we preach regarding employee mental health. So here, we share some of the actions and measures we have taken to support our own team members. Most of them are relatively inexpensive and can be implemented quickly and easily:

  • Our team expressed how much they wanted to come into work as it gives them a sense of routine and normality. We therefore introduced an office rota to give everyone who wanted it, the opportunity to come into the office to work. Just 2 or 3 people a day and social distancing and a cleaning regime are strictly enforced.
  • A catch-up on Zoom or Microsoft Teams every morning at 8.30am for 20 minutes. We take turns between team members to lead the meeting and choose the theme. It’s an opportunity to share any pressing work issues but it’s also fun. This morning we had show and tell but we’ve also had “name your favourite song, film and meal and explain why.”
  • Our own Mental Health training sessions on Monday mornings. An extended one-hour session covering Mental Resilience and last week, Managing Change.
  • This Monday we had a trainer running a Mindfulness session.
  • Next Monday we have a Meditation practitioner running a session.
  • Friday mornings on Zoom we celebrate what’s gone well and say what our following week’s priorities are. The team expressed a need for support in keeping focussed. This is also an opportunity to ask for help.
  • Friday afternoons before we close for the weekend we have a 15 minute social to just grab a cuppa and share plans for the weekend
  • We bought the business version of the “Calm” app so all members of staff who asked for it can use it for free.
  • We’ve made sure that all available support services are shared with the team. For example our company life insurance provider has an employee assistant programme that includes a counselling helpline and online access to a doctor.
  • Physical wellbeing contributes to mental wellbeing so we had a physiotherapist take a “Descathalon” session where we were given 10 exercises to do at our desks.
  • We’ve also adopted the Government cycle to work scheme to subsidise staff buying a new bike so they can get more exercise
  • The associated Techscheme makes it easier for staff to buy IT equipment; especially useful where there’s a home-schooling need
  • We have introduced a “sustainability champion” and everyone has shared their own green practices and ideas as a way of creating activity to keep staff active and engaged on a project. Our chosen charity for the year is Ecologi which plants trees and staff can follow our progress
  • 80% of the team have undergone our own Mental Health First Aider training so that they can signpost other team members, family and friends to support where they feel it’s appropriate
  • Where no conflict allows, team members can bring their pet dogs into the office
  • We have implemented an informal “buddy” scheme where team members telephone or online-chat one another, to replicate coffee-breaks or water cooler encounters.

We’re always open to further suggestions of course and our morning catch-ups are a perfect opportunity to share any further ideas.

Further information about our Mental Health courses and workshops for individuals and teams is available at HR Champions - Mental health and because it’s live online training it’s available to anyone. And remember that furloughed workers are allowed to undertake training.

We’ve included hyperlinks where appropriate in the above tips but if you have any questions or would like some support implementing your own wellbeing plan then you can contact us on 01452 331331 or drop an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.