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A crucial time to support our employees’ mental health and well-being
19 May 2020
The challenges to our personal and collective resilience have rarely been greater than the early months of 2020. Whilst we are all navigating our work and home lives to the best of our abilities, in these current circumstances, it has never been more important to look after ourselves both mentally and physically.
In my role as a leader within the Commercial Bank, I am also conscious that the businesses we support are wrestling with an added dimension at this time. Alongside the need to adapt to their own changes and challenges, they have responsibilities to employees who may be unable to work, unable to be paid fully, wrestling with caring responsibilities, or loved ones who have fallen ill.
With so many challenges and ambiguities, investing in good mental health and well-being is likely to be a key strategy for businesses, and will support owners, leaders and employees long after the crisis has subsided.
At Lloyds Banking Group we have been privileged to learn from a wealth of experts and partners over the last few years. We therefore thought it would be useful to share these lessons with businesses through our “Mental health in the workplace” guide which is freely available to download on-line.
This guide has been created in collaboration with our charity partner Mental Health UK, providing guidance on developing and promoting positive mental health, and how to make it work for businesses.
Mental Health UK has also developed some additional resources to help people with immediate challenges, such as adapting to home-working and boosting wellbeing during social distancing.
Mental health and well-being has also featured significantly in our new Covid-19 webcast series, which covers a range of topics including financial, operational and human impacts for businesses. I found this to be a really insightful podcast that included some additional tips from Mind on managing your mental health and wellbeing in relation to work. There is also some practical advice on supporting employees who are furloughed or working from home, along with some insight on the additional steps we have taken to support our colleagues during the Coronavirus outbreak.
As I reflect on my own learning during these times, there are many adjustments I have had to make to ensure working in this environment is a success. As an example, it was after around 2 days that I realised that video calls for 10 or 12 hours a day was not going to work. I am also mindful that, during these times, I have effectively invaded my family’s space and brought a whole load of noise and anxiety to a place that’s not used to it in quite the same way. Building time in the diary just to get out the room or have lunch and dinner with my family was therefore essential to build some boundaries. The working day has turned upside down and managing that has been really interesting.
There are some real positives as well. I am genuinely excited about some of things that we are going to keep hold of when the Coronavirus is behind us. The way I’ve described it to my team is that we’re effectively in the middle of the world’s largest Behavioural Experiment and we are designing new ways of working. We are building and adapting processes, we are doing things at a speed, of which we could of only have dreamt of a few weeks ago.
Clearly there are still challenging times ahead, but I’m convinced that prioritising our health and well-being, and how we all as businesses support our employees to do the same, will be one of the enduring benefits from the changes we have made.
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