The link between employee wellbeing and productivity is well established but, as we move into the post-pandemic phase, it will be harder than ever for managers to keep the two in harmony.
..sometimes your job is just to ask the right questions
Chances are, at least one of your team members has seen a deterioration in their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic. And almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of managers believe the wellbeing/mental health of their team has been or would be affected by a return to the workplace, according to CMI research.
Of course, many managers will work in organisations that have employee assistance programmes or trained mental health first-aiders. But on a day-to-day level, it’s line managers who are best placed to spot the warning signs about a colleague’s wellbeing, to be alert to changes in colleagues’ behaviour and, crucially, to create an environment and relationship in which it’s OK to talk about wellbeing issues.
Some stigma around mental health does remain, and many people will worry about being seen as a weak link. Don’t think you need to provide immediate fixes; sometimes your job is just to ask the right questions. Start an open discussion (and listen) with:
How are you?
Look after yourself
Managers must also set a good example and look after their own wellbeing. In the words of Lynne Green, chief clinical officer at CMI’s digital mental health partner Kooth: “Make sure you put your own oxygen mask on first.”
CMI members get access to Kooth’s online mental health platform included with their membership. All course prices include CMI Membership.
6 Need to know tips
Conduct regular and authentic communication with your team. These can just be quick check-ins. Show understanding and empathy. Manage expectations and be transparent about what can be done and when.
Download the CMI PDF Checklist for Clear Communication.
When checking in with your team, don’t just focus on day-to-day tasks and to-do lists. Ask how they’re feeling and make adjustments to support them if needed. This is especially important now that some workplaces are reopening; how do your employees actually feel about returning? There may be tricky feelings to navigate here.
Tailor your approach to different team members. Check that your communication style and frequency meet the needs of your direct reports.
Read about Management and Leadership Styles on CMI website to help you tailor your approach accurately.
CMI members get access to Kooth, a mental health service provider. Kooth offers anonymous mental health and wellbeing support to those in need.
If you need staff to put in more hours for a specific project, make sure it is for a set, acceptable length of time. Show your appreciation for good work and extra effort.
Read more about appreciation on the CMI website.
Look after your own wellbeing. Focus on what you can control. Reach out to people if you need help. Take time for physical exercise.
Back to Work: Post-Lockdown Wellbeing
Dr Lynda Shaw’s expert take on why “toxic positivity” is just as damaging as being entirely doom and gloom.
Kooth Pulse Report 2021 – The State of Nation’s Mental Health
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