The way the majority of employers view workplace wellbeing is changing especially in light of the disruption caused by the prolonged effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. Below, we have set out some information, hints & tips on supporting employee wellbeing as we move into a post pandemic world.
Historically, there has been a focus on physical health however, with mental wellbeing being hugely affected by COVID 19 the focus is shifting from reactive management of sickness absence to a more proactive approach of prevention through promoting wellbeing and improving employee engagement. As an employer, if you are looking for new ways to address staff wellbeing, please contact us for a copy of our free Wellness Action Plan (WAP), a tool which helps all employees manage their mental health and wellbeing at work. This is a personalised practical tool to help identify what keeps employees well at work, what causes them to become unwell, and how to address a mental health problem at work should they experience it. This is not solely for use for those employees who have poor physical or mental health, rather, it is to be used as a proactive tool to promote general wellbeing amongst the workforce at large. It also helps to open up a dialogue with a line manager so the line manager can better understand the needs and experiences of the employee and better support their mental health.
The wellness action plan will cover:
- Approaches the employee will take and behaviours they can adopt to support their mental wellbeing.
- Early warning signs of poor mental health that an employee’s line manager can look out for.
- Any workplace triggers for poor mental health or stress.
- Potential impact of poor mental health on performance, if any.
- What support an employee needs from their line manager.
- Actions and positive steps an employee and their line manager will take if an employee is experiencing stress or poor mental health.
- An agreed time to review the plan and any support measures to see if they are working; and anything else that an employee feels would be useful in supporting their mental health.
- The plan should be written and owned by the employee. The line manager’s role is to discuss the plan with the employee and provide support, including guidance on what is possible for any reasonable adjustments. It should be a collaborative process but led by the employee. The plan should be held confidentially by the line manager. You should discuss how it will be used and agree who can see it. By regularly reviewing your plan you can adapt it to reflect changes and new approaches and by being proactive and taking ownership of the process, it may help you feel more in control.
When should an employer introduce the WAP?
There is no one right answer to this question, it will be different for each employer depending on the type of work performed, the size of the business and employee engagement. Some employers may choose to introduce to all employees in a managed roll out (perhaps at an annual appraisal) or to new starters during an induction process are able to demonstrate their commitment to staff wellbeing from the outset. Some employers may also find the WAP helpful during a return to work process, when someone has been off work due to a mental health problem, as they provide a structure for conversations around what support will help and what reasonable adjustments might be useful to consider.
The WAP is a confidential document to be held confidentially between manager and employee, with the employee being made fully aware of how the information will be used, and therefore only providing information that they are happy to share. If you have homeworkers or have adopted a hybrid working arrangement, don’t forget these employees also have the WAP if you are rolling this out to be used across the business.
If you have any questions about the WAP or how to go about introducing the WAP or even anything disclosed to you as an employer as part of the WAP and you are not sure how to deal with it, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team on 0333 2005153 or by completing our contact form here.