Mental Health and Working from Home

1 April, 2020

The construction industry has worked hard to focus on employee mental health and wellbeing over the last few years.  Construction focused charities such as Mates in Mind have raised the profile of the issue and are helping to remove the unwarranted stigma that has long been associated with mental health conditions.

Their “Let’s talk. Let’s act.” slide set, published on 6 February 2020 to coincide with “Time to Talk Day 2020” is a fantastic resource not just for managers, but for all staff to enable them to begin crucial conversations about mental health in the workplace.

As many of us are now experiencing a new “normal” of working from home during the current coronavirus crisis, it is even more important that we look out for the mental health of ourselves, colleagues, clients, friends and family.

Many individuals will be going through some challenging and stressful times.  Financial uncertainty, managing home schooling and worrying about the health of loved ones – all add to the pressures.  For many of us, there is also a strong need to maintain strong relationships with our colleagues for emotional and mental well-being.

Here are a few strategies that you might want to consider:

  • Pick up the phone and speak to people.  It is too easy to just send e-mails for efficiency reasons
  • Ask people how they are doing, how they are coping and how their families are getting on
  • Use video conference tools to have virtual coffee breaks – maybe 10 minutes to have the type of chat you would normally have at the tea station
  • Have a weekly team video call – perhaps on a Friday afternoon.  Create a theme for each call e.g. indoor keep fit ideas, favourite box sets, tips for keeping kids entertained, soup recipes etc) and ensure that everyone is allocated time to speak
  • Make time each day for exercise – it is critical for good mental health

Above all, let’s look our and support each other through these challenging times.  I am sure that we will all emerge from this challenging period closer, stronger and kinder.

Scott Smyth – Founder & Group Managing Director