Advice for employers

Further guidance on supporting you and your staff is provided below. Download a copy of this information.

This guidance is for employers in Gloucestershire who want to know more about how to support their staff to maintain positive mental health and wellbeing. You may be a small enterprise or larger organisation; whatever the size of your workforce there is plenty of information here to help you.

In November 2020, a letter was sent to employers in Gloucestershire by Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health at Gloucestershire County Council. This letter provides further information on support services for those who may be struggling with their wellbeing due to Covid-19. Read the Letter to Employers here.

You may also be interested in this page which includes information for those who may be at risk of experiencing financial hardship due to job loss/end of furlough/redundancy.

We have all had different individual experiences during this pandemic; some may have been affected more than others by Covid-19, particularly in terms of psychological responses and the way it affects our mental health.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) offer some interesting insight into the way individuals may be feeling in the guidance document The psychological needs of healthcare staff as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The paper specifically focusses on healthcare staff, but the premise can be applied to all workforces.  You may find this summary useful to consider as a part of the overall wellbeing strategy for your organisation. For those that have been working in customer facing roles this guidance may be particularly relevant. Click here to view the full guide on the BPS website.

Psychological Response Phases

The BPS guidance notes that it is likely that staff will experience three psychological response phases as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The first is the Preparation Phase.  Your workforce may have experienced anticipatory anxiety, or felt under-prepared and with limited time to plan for what was needed. We have now passed through this phase.

The two other psychological response phases are the Active Phase and the Recovery Phase. Download a copy of our table to see these phases explored in more detail.

You may recognise many of the psychological descriptions within your own workforce and indeed within yourself.

Hopefully this overview will help you to understand your workforce’s current psychological response; or put another way their wellbeing and morale levels. It offers insight to help leaders and managers spot the signs of different psychological responses to our current challenges in the county.

TABLE 1: Psychological Response Phases - The psychological needs of healthcare staff as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak (BPS 31.03.2020)

To sustain staff wellbeing the BPS offer practical recommendations based on the psychological response phases.

Principles of responding well in the Active and Recovery Phases

  • Visible leadership
  • Have a communication strategy
  • Ensure consistent access to physical safety needs
  • Ensure human connection and methods of pre-existing peer support
  • Providing psychological care to patients and families is key to staff wellbeing – for clinical and care staff
  • Normalise psychological responses
  • Deliver formal psychological care in stepped ways (see figure 1 below)
  • Innovate to implement psychological care, but in a coordinated way and consistent with organisational policies and principles of compassionate care
  • Come back to your core organisational and professional values in making decisions
  • Take care of yourself and pace yourself – this is a marathon, not a sprint

Principles of responding well in the Recovery Phase for restoring and maintaining staff wellbeing in the future

  • Allow space for taking stock, if available utilising trained practitioner psychologists to facilitate reflection and processing of experiences
  • Organise active learning events that involve staff at all levels – feed learning into future preparedness plans
  • Organise thanks and rewards for everyday going above and beyond
  • Needs assessment of staff – what did your workforce find helpful, what ongoing input would they want now. If needed, increase your access to in-house Employee Wellbeing Services offering evidence-based psychological therapies
  • Provide spaces for ongoing peer support

It is important, when this is over, that we do not return to business as usual without considering the long-term psychological needs of our workforce.

Page updated: 25/11/2020 Page updated by: Communications

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