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Connecting with your staff, and encouraging them to connect with each other, may be more difficult during the coronavirus health emergency. But keeping up these connections plays a significant role in the wellbeing of your workplace.
Just as important as looking after your employee’s physical health during the COVID-19 outbreak is looking after their mental health.
Working from home for long periods of time may possibly impact mental health so it was important to support your mental health during COVID-19, according to Dr Jill Newby, Associate Professor of Psychology at UNSW and the Black Dog Institute.1
Dr Newby said working from home made it more difficult for your staff to have everyday or spontaneous encounters with colleagues. As a result, it was important to be proactive in organising meetings and social connections to maintain positive relationships between staff members.
Staying connected with others helped to reduce stress levels, helped you feel less isolated, and helped you stay productive, Dr Newby said.
R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton told QSuper staying connected at work with simple conversations could even help save a life.
“We all spend so much time at work that we are often the best placed person to spot changes in someone’s behaviour, see when things are slightly out of the norm,” Ms Newton said.
It was important to remember that getting through a day’s work may not be the only thing the person next to us was going through, she said.
Currently 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression.2
Research released by R U OK? also found:
Ms Newton said employers and staff could create a culture where people felt confident asking if someone was OK.
“We hope to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life.”
R U OK? outlines three signs to be aware of when checking in with your colleagues:
Do they seem to sound:
Do they seem to be:
Are they experiencing:
Simple steps to ask if a colleague is OK:
Source: RU OK?, Let’s talk about mental health.
Never hesitate to reach out.
1 Newby, J, Blackdog Institute, 25 March 2020, Working from home: A checklist to support your mental health during Coronavirus accessed 20 April 2020 at www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
2 Beyond Blue, accessed 1 September 2019 at https://www.beyondblue.org.au
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