Lawyer urges action on Lockdown health

An employment law specialist has called on employers to focus on the mental wellbeing of their staff as businesses continue to adjust to the realities of Lockdown,

In June, the mental health charity, Mind, released figures showing that 60 per cent of adults found that their mental health declined during the first Lockdown. With shorter days there are fears that these figures could be even higher. 

Tessa Robinson, Associate at the law firm Furley Page, said: “Although employers may want to focus on messages around job security by stating it is business as usual, the pressures facing employees at the current time are unprecedented.

“Businesses need to communicate clearly with staff, admit that this period is extraordinary and make reasonable allowances to suit each individual’s specific circumstances during lockdown, including strategies to promote good mental health. 

The closure of schools has left many parents with the dual responsibility of home-schooling children while trying to complete their work. Alongside the stresses of everyday work, there are concerns about offering the correct resources, time and attention to children who are forced to learn from home. 

Parents home schooling their children will face additional pressures during school hours, but may be able to work flexibly in the morning or evening

Tessa added: “One step in recognising these additional pressures may be to offer flexibility in working practices. This could take many forms including flexible working hours or temporarily amending roles to suit individuals’ varying pressures. 

“Parents home schooling their children will face additional pressures during school hours, but may be able to work flexibly in the morning or evening. In addition, to alleviate pressure, individuals with fewer demands at home could temporarily take on some additional duties.” 

Government guidance has clarified that members of staff may now be furloughed if they face caring or home-schooling demands. Tessa suggests that offering this option or additional annual leave to employees may improve their long-term mental health and productivity. 

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