COVID-19: Mental health protocols for going back to work

As we come back into some form of normality after the last few months of various restrictions, more and more […]

June 5th, 2020

Category: News

As we come back into some form of normality after the last few months of various restrictions, more and more of us have made huge changes to our daily routines. The new realities for many might include: continuing to work from home, heading back into the office or transitioning back into work altogether. Adapting our lifestyles to all these changes along with adapting to new fears around social distancing can take a toll on our mental wellbeing.  There are lots of things we can do to look after our mental health and spread awareness to help others. At CSI we have been really impressed with the great work Mates In Construction are doing and here are some tips courtesy of them to help ease the transition back into working life.

Acknowledge your feelings and emotions:

During times like this you may notice that your emotions and feelings change and that is OK. Feeling stressed may be a common experience among many of us right now, it is normal to feel like this. If you are feeling anxious or stressed about going back to the workplace it is not a reflection that you can not do your job, and you can speak up.

Many workplaces are changing how they operate under each alert level and knowing how you should be working within the new restrictions can be confusing. Take note of how you are feeling and how often you are feeling this way, if it is only from time to time then learn what makes you relax, if your emotions are more extreme and for an unusual length of time it is ok to seek further support.

How can you maintain your wellbeing?

During this time, it is crucial that you try to manage your feelings of stress to look after both your mental and physical health. Make sure that you are looking after yourself in ways that you would normally such as resting after work and eating healthy balanced meals throughout the day. Stay in touch with the people you care about, your friends and family are there to help you through this time, some of them may also be feeling the same way.

Another tip from the World Health Organisation is to reduce/ maintain what you are watching and reading in the news so that you can minimise what is making you feel anxious or stressed. Only seek the information that you need, you do not want to overwhelm yourself.

What can an employer do for their staff?

Communication is key to supporting employees through the various transitions caused by COVID-19. Making staff feel safe and creating an environment for staff to speak up is important for mental health. Offering support for staff even if they do not ask for it will help them to feel safe and secure in the workplace. Assist employees with any new protocols such as physical distancing in the workplace. At CSI we are back to doing on-site work again now that we are at level 2, we are supporting our team through the change in our on-site protocols. 

What support is available to you?

 If you start to notice a change in your behaviour or the behaviour of a colleague, it may be time to get some more support. If you start to become absent from work, struggle to finish work, struggle to concentrate, are distant with others or finding it hard to cope with everyday life you should speak up to your manager, someone that you trust or reach out to the New Zealand Mental Health Organisation who are helping New Zealanders get through the COVID-19 outbreak .

There is a range of support within communities that are available to you. You could also contact the MATES in Construction Team, they are a free confidential service that is offering support for those who need it. As we head back to the worksite we want to remind everyone that if you are struggling it is ok. It’s ok not to be ok.

For further support visit the Mates In Construction website, they have induction packs and other resources to help you feel mentally prepared to go back to work.

CSI Phone

North Island – Central and North, Auckland: 0800 33 77 67

Greater Wellington region and South Island: 0800 30 20 20

CSI Email

Leave a Reply