Contributed by Thrive Safe
The recent pandemic has caused a large majority of workplaces and education providers in this country to change how they are working, from historically and primarily office based, to many of their staff now working from home. It is natural that increasing numbers of employees may now feel conflicted with the increased expectation to return to the workplace. Countless employees are likely to have not been in large social settings for some time and many may still carry their own health related fears of the physical risk they face.
We know that in the UK the economy loses around £2.4 billion due to 70 million sick days each year and it will be interesting to see what the next figures suggest, as we navigate our way out of a pandemic that has seen forced sick days, isolation periods and a withdrawal from working together.
Our immune systems have not been exposed to the ‘normal’ yearly challenges of the customary colds and viruses that they would have, through standard contact in socialisation and working; we are now going to spend some time as a country, establishing so many aspects of our recovery from the pandemic and how it is impacting our workforce.
It is vitally important that, whilst there is a considerable focus on the physical health risks, we also acknowledge and work alongside the reality of the mental health impact, which the pandemic has had on our nation.
We have moved, from being encouraged to socialise, be active and engage with our communities, to self-isolating to protect the spread of the virus. A lot of the information that we have received has re-conditioned our brain from considering that normal human contact and being connected is positive, to now the reverse and contemplating it being largely coded with an element of fear and concern. Nearly 2 years of media information advising us that being close to people can make us sick is going to instil lots of anxiety, especially as we invite people to come back to work together in confined office spaces.
This information sharing about the pandemic has added to pre-existing pressures on wellbeing such as exposure to abuse and other trauma, with recent statistics suggesting that reports of abuse increased during the pandemic by a significant amount resulting in Police receiving one domestic abuse related call every 30 seconds. Police call data will not be able to account for those unable to access phones due to the isolation and control they faced. Refuge – a domestic abuse charity – also reported in their 20/21 service review that they had a 65% increase of calls to their helpline between April and June of 2020 as well as a 700% increase on their website being accessed during lockdown restrictions of April 2020 to February 2021.
With these statistics in mind, a small snapshot of just one form of trauma, it is evident, that in all probability, a multitude of employees returning to work, may well be struggling to recover from their own previous or current trauma, bereavements; as a result of the pandemic and their own health anxieties amongst other life pressures.
At Thrive Safe we aspire to work with companies, organisation and education providers to support staff with their mental health and wellbeing, to be a safe place as they return to work, and to create proactive and supportive working cultures to help people flourish.
Our work is based on building a safe space to navigate sensitive topics such as domestic abuse and sexual violence awareness, the impact of mental health and trauma to an individual and to the workplace, in addition to exploring ways to develop coping strategies and plans to proactively manage mental health and wellbeing.
If you want to discuss how we can support you, please contact us to discuss our bespoke packages and workshops at email@example.com or by calling 07592 042820.
Thrive Safe provides workshops and 1:1 support for individuals and work places to understand the impact of trauma and abuse. For more information visit the Thrivesafe website
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