Work and your mental health
At this time of uncertainty and change to our lives work can present many challenges. For example, managing working from home, being furloughed or being asked to go back to work can all be stressful. Addressing your concerns with your employer may help to improve your wellbeing.
Tips for managing working from home
- Try to separate home and work time. Keep work equipment in a single area.
- Be kind to yourself, especially if you are juggling many roles at the moment.
- Try to keep a daily routine, including regular breaks.
- Remember that your colleagues may also be feeling anxious and stressed. If they seem upset try not to take this personally, and try to ask them if they are ok.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if you need help with a task, or more time.
What can you do to improve your mental health at work
At this time many of us may experience worries about our ability to cope at work. Think about the 5 questions listed below. These can help you to develop a practical plan to improve your mental health at work – take your ideas to your manager, have an open and honest discussion about them, and agree a plan together.
- When you are feeling well emotionally, what are your strengths and skills?
- How are you feeling at the moment and how is it affecting your work?
- Are there any specific work-related triggers or issues that affect your mental wellbeing?
- What can your manager or organisation do to help improve or maintain your wellbeing at work? What adjustments do you think are reasonable in your role at work?
- What can you do to support your wellbeing at work?
Tips for employers and managers
1. Have an open door policy
Try to make yourself approachable and available for conversations about staff wellbeing. Developing an understanding culture gives the best possible opportunity to solve problems affecting people in your team.
2. Banish stigma
Try to be inclusive and proactive about staff wellbeing. Remember that people can often feel guilty or ashamed about asking for help.
3. Be positive
A positive approach to discussing mental health can create a pattern of hope and an expectation of understanding and empathy. This is especially important when someone is approaching you for the first time.
For more information about your employment rights and changes due to coronavirus (e.g sick pay, furloughing, support for the self-employed) please visit the Useful links page.
If you would like any help with employment concerns NHS Oxfordshire Talking Therapies has a team of Employment Advisors who can provide free, independent and effective help. Our Employment Advisors work closely with our clinicians, helping you with both your emotional and employment needs.
Page last reviewed: 31 March, 2023