COVID-19 & Mental Health - A Mentally Healthy Workplace
The third blog in our COVID-19 & Mental Health series looks at how Meridian has built Mental Health and Wellbeing into our company culture.
Raising awareness of mental health and challenging the stigmas attached to it is, rightly so, receiving a lot of press at the moment. During COVID-19 employers worldwide adapt their operations in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and many workers have found their situations have changed and they are now dealing with a lot more stress whether they have been furloughed, working from home and /or homeschooling their children.
But actions speak louder than words - perhaps now more than ever and with this in mind, increasing understanding about mental health is essential, not just for the benefit of our people but for our candidates too.
Meridian have several initiatives to help create a mentally healthy workplace.
Mental Health Awareness Training for all Managers
Last year we sent our line managers on Mental Health First Aid (Mental Health First Aid) Training. The courses were delivered by Simon Osborne, a qualified MHFA Instructor at MHFA England. This training was designed to help managers identity those struggling with mental health issues which is now invaulable during COVID-19; our managers are equipped with the knowledge and understanding to indentify those struggling with the current situation and offer them the help that they need.
Mental Health First Aiders
As part of our campaign to raise awareness of Mental Health issues in the workplace, Meridian has two dedicated Mental Health First Aiders. A Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is the go-to person for anyone who is going through some form of mental health issue. This person may have to have an initial conversation with a colleague. The first aider will be present to help guide the person in distress to the relevant help that they need.
The 24hr Helpline
The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) we brought in last year is now more important than ever and we promote it to our staff at every opportunity. The EAP is a free 24/7 counselling service available to all our employees and their families offering free & confidential advice on a wide range practical & personal issues.
During COVID-19 when all staff have been working from home we have made sure that we communicate with our colleagues on a regular basis including those we have had to furlough. It is vital that everyone feels part of a team especially whilst remote working, which can be isolating. We encourage regular team video catch-up meeting, the Chief Executive emails the business everyday and we have a monthly internal communication called Meridian Matters that keeps all staff up to date with what is going on in the business.
Learning & Development
With many people unable to work, either because they are self-isolating or are on furlough, our Learning & Development team have provided our staff with a guide designed to prompt a few learning and development ideas and make your development time productive and, hopefully, fun!
The Meridian Learning and Development (L&D) Team also provide opportunities for continuous professional development. Firstly, there is our online learning platform Litmos Heroes. It's free, available 24/7 and provides a huge range of courses, workshops and videos, including IT Skills, Presentation and Public Speaking, Negotiation and Influencing and Project Management skills. These bite-sized courses are quick and easy to complete.
The L&D Team also scheduled professional development workshops online via our WebEx Training Centre. Running workshops on a wide variety of topics, including Candidate Management, Employment Law, Negotiation Skills, Time and Project Management, Sales Development and many more.
Time for Shopping
We understand that some of our staff are not only looking after themselves and their loved ones during this crisis, but looking after looking out for their friends and neighbours as well. In recognition of this, during these exceptional time of the pandemic, the Board offered all staff the opportunity to take a couple of hours off a week to allow time to go shopping during the day to support your elderly and/or vulnerable relatives, friends & neighbours. We hope this gesture helps to the relieve the pressure for some of our staff and would benefit their wellbeing.
During normal circumstances we also offer our employees time off for 'moments that matter' like school sports days and plays and we look forward to getting back to the office for our Yoga, Mindfulness, Massage and Pizza days!
Mental health issues in the workplace are common, especially depression, anxiety and problems related to stress. Mental health in the workplace and the wellbeing of our employees and temporary workers is very close to our hearts at Meridian, click here for a list of helpful resources and organisations if you feel you are struggling with a mental health issue.