Looking out for others when working remotely

Blog post

Ian Snow MD at CT, together with Champion Health, takes a look at the importance of looking out for others whilst working remotely

Over the past few months we have looked at what measures and processes business owners should consider to ensure business continuity and improve the security of their new hybrid working environment.  Whilst it is imperative that this is a key priority, we are also looking to the health of our team and supporting any employees that may be struggling with uncertainty and change as a result of Covid 19.

We are aware as a business we need adapt and implement a range of measures to support employees experiencing poor mental health.  We know we need to support employees to regain an effective work-life balance, address fears about return to work, right through to support for severe mental health conditions. 

Through the work we have done we have already done with Champion Health, we know that spotting the warning signs of mental health problems in our friends and colleagues is already pretty difficult.   When we’re socially distancing and working remotely, this might feel nearly impossible. But there are things we can all look out for and pick up on.

Champion Health have highlighted 4 key areas in which you may notice changes in your friend or colleague, which include behaviour, emotions, thoughts/cognition and physical sensations.  

1) Your colleague’s actions (i.e. behaviour)
Behaviour is often the first sign we pick up on. Your colleague might have stopped replying to your messages, or maybe you’ve noticed they aren’t keeping up with their work. A slight change in behaviour is to be expected given the adjustment to lockdown, but keep an eye out for those who don’t seem to be adjusting well. We communicate a lot about how we feel through our actions.

2) What they are feeling (i.e. emotions)
An obvious sign is being aware of how your colleague is feeling. They might feel able to talk to you and share their emotions directly. If they do, take your time to listen without judgement and don’t try to solve the problem straight away. Being there for them in that moment will be enough. If your colleague isn’t as forth-coming, there are also more subtle changes to look out for, such as your colleague appearing quieter or more irritable than usual.

3) How they are thinking (i.e. cognition)
Mental health problems often affect the way we think. If your colleague is struggling, they might be more preoccupied by their thoughts, experiencing “brain fog” and finding it difficult to concentrate. These are all signs you might notice during a conversation or in a meeting.

4) How they feel it in their body (i.e. physical sensations)
This is harder to tell from an outside perspective, but have they mentioned feeling more tired or run down than usual? Perhaps they’ve told you they’re having trouble sleeping? These could all be signs their mental health is taking a toll on their physical health.

Noticing these difficulties in isolation doesn’t mean your colleague has a mental health problem. Instead, it can simply encourage us to open up a conversation about mental wellbeing and check in with how they are feeling. You never know, you might be the lifeline they’ve been waiting for.

Here at CT we are continuing to regularly ensure our team take assessments and are involved with a series of webinars that the team at Champion Health recommend for our employees and we would strongly recommend Harry and his team to every business out there.

If you would like to explore the warning signs further and build confidence in supporting someone who is struggling, get in touch with Champion Health today.