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Mental Health Awareness During Lockdown

Author: Grace Busby

Published Date: 2020/05

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Mental Health Awareness Week seemed particularly significant this year given that it took place with the UK under lockdown during a global pandemic.

While it’s too early to know what the long term impact of the lockdown will be on people’s mental health, early signs suggest that people are experiencing higher stress and anxiety levels as well as an increase in loneliness.

Like most other companies across the UK, our employees have been working from home throughout the lockdown period and this meant that we needed adapt the ways in which we monitor the wellbeing of our staff.

Over the last few week’s we have implemented a number of different initiatives in order to look after the health and wellbeing of our people including regular virtual team meetings, increased communication and flexibility.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Branch Manager Leanne held one to one calls with every member of the Vibe team simply to ask “how are you?”

We felt it was important to reach out to everyone individually and instead of speaking about work, ask them how they are and how they’ve been coping during this strange time.

Everyone has been really appreciative of receiving such a personal call and to have an opportunity to talk about their own personal circumstances. There has been no pressure placed on anyone to talk in detail if they didn’t feel comfortable, but the majority of people wanted to speak openly and were forthcoming in sharing their experiences and any concerns.

One thing that stood out is that everyone’s experiences have been different. From how they adapted to working from home, factors in their home life and getting used to the new norm. it is a reminder there are so many different factors involved for example: whether or not people having a garden, some people living alone others with big families, parents who are working and home schooling at the same time, others living with vulnerable people or key workers. Everyone’s experience is unique and ultimately shapes their view on the current situation and their long-term outlook.

Two months into lockdown and it seems that everyone has settled into working from home and has been able to establish a good balance between work and family life which is so important.

We have taken a flexible approach as much as possible to accommodate the members of our team who have been home-schooling as well as working and have received a positive response to this. The feedback Leanne received is that parents, including herself, have restructured their days and have been home-schooling in the morning as this is the time that most children are most productive.

Naturally, some parents were concerned about their children returning to school and what this will look like. We will be keeping a close eye on the Government’s recommendations around this.

All of the team are looking forward to the structure and routine that returning to work will bring as well as the social interaction. Everyone recognised that there will be challenges ahead but were excited to tackle them together as a team.

On the whole, this initiative highlighted that having a personal, informal conversation with someone friendly is extremely appreciated during these difficult times and we will be making it a permanent part of our wellbeing strategy.

Talking really does help so it’s important to reach out if you are struggling with your mental health.

A huge thank you to Leanne for reaching out to all of Team Vibe!