Supporting your employees into the new ‘norm’ – are you prepared?

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has (and continues), to have a huge impact on businesses and their employees. Government, business leaders, institutions and employees alike, recognise that the true extent of this impact is unlikely to be understood for some time, as the UK enters a period of adjustment and easing back into the new ‘norm.’

The Centre for Mental Health (May 2020 Briefing) reported that, if the economic impact of Covid-19 is similar to that of the post 2008 recession, we can expect and additional 500,000 people to experience mental health problems in the coming year(s).

Mind UK published its ‘Mental Health Emergency’ report in June 2020. 65% of 18-24-year old’s and 51% of all other age categories reported that their mental health had been disproportionately affected by concerns about work linked to Covid-19.

More locally, Business West recently published its Covid-19 Business Impact Survey with headline figures including:

  • Less than 1 in 10 businesses see a positive side to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Job losses likely to accelerate until November 2020.

With feedback like this coming from both national and local sources, it’s little wonder that people are feeling anxious and unsettled. As businesses are being forced to restructure, requiring individuals to take on more responsibility or change job roles, uncertainty, anxiety and poor mental health are having both obvious and hidden impacts.

Catherine Frankpitt of Strike Communications Ltd has recently published an article on Imposter Syndrome which states “70% of us will experience Imposter Syndrome at some point, with individuals doubting their talents despite evidence proving that they are in actual fact both capable and competent. You’re more likely to experience it when you start a new job or receive a promotion. But anecdotally, it seems as though the pandemic may have exacerbated imposter feelings for some.”

Encouragingly, the Centre for Excellence in SEND (People) has engaged with over 1000 organisations and individuals across the UK during lockdown, with mental health being at the top of their agendas. Even more encouragingly, Weston College has seen a fivefold increase in requests for distance learning to enable employers and their managers to support employees and teams. The top five courses undertaken were:

  • Awareness of Mental Health Problems
  • Understanding and Working with People with Mental Health Problems
  • Team Leading
  • Understanding Behaviour that Challenges
  • Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties

Did you know that any of your employees enrolling onto a course with us, will automatically gain access to our welfare support team, Body and Mind (BAM) activities and initiatives and an online self-help resource (delivered through TogetherAll)? Therefore, as you prepare for the new ‘norm’ you can be assured that if they are silently experiencing any of the conditions or issues detailed above, we have a range of services in place to support them and you as their employer.

We’re passionate about supporting our business community in any way that we can. As well as offering the suite of distance learning courses, we have launched a new Covid Recovery Hub for our business community and can also develop bespoke training packages to respond to individual business needs.

To find out more about our mental health related courses/provision and the Centre for Excellence in SEND, please contact us at: CfESEND@weston.ac.uk

Jane Vivian

Catalyst Director – Partnerships, Projects and New Initiatives

© Bridgwater Chamber 2020