GTP21: Mental health and wellbeing

The HR Dept North Birmingham

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2021 Growth Through People campaign.

Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2021 this involves 8 free online workshops taking place throughout March, and a virtual Growth Through People conference on 30th March. In addition, throughout the campaign the Chambers will be publishing thought leadership podcasts, videos and blog content such as this.

Thanks to our Headline Sponsors – Aston University, BMet College and the University of Birmingham’s Work Inclusivity Research Centre - all workshops are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more and register to attend Growth Through People workshops here, and the Growth Through People conference here.

High on the agenda this year for many SMEs and their employees, will be Mental Health and Wellbeing. In this blog, we have included some tips in this area to help businesses navigate health and wellbeing in the midst of a pandemic;

Stress Management

 Stress has always been in the workplace! But the events of 2020 left many people in stressful situations inside and outside of work, and homeworking blurred the boundaries between work-life balance. Stress Risk Assessments fall under a H&S arena; however, these are a good starter if staff are suffering high levels of stress. It is also worth discussing and addressing this topic in regular one-to-ones, so you can take steps to avoid staff burnout. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) can also offer key advice in times of crisis, helping staff to deal with stressors from all areas of life.

  • Tip – EAP will cost a lot less than you think! Our clients that already have this in place have found this to be invaluable support for their staff and families, and it can be a great preventative measure, which in turn can decrease staff absence and lead to a happier workforce – a win-win!

Mental Health Awareness

We have seen a wide range of issues which has been impacting on mental health including anxiety being in the workplace, financial and family worries, home-schooling, childcare issues, feeling isolated during homeworking, and sadly, bereavements. Tackling the subject of mental health with employees can be a daunting subject, and you may not know where to start. Mental Health Awareness training can be a great first step to spot warning signs of poor mental health, and for ways in which to prevent and overcome any concerns.

  • Tip – eLearning training can be a cost effective way to train all managers; this can cover areas such as Mental Health Awareness, Stress Management, and Resilience
  • Tip - consider a Health & Wellbeing Policy and training a trusted member of the team as a Mental Health First Aider.

Remote/Home and Flexible Working

The approach to work over the last 12-months has shifted dramatically. It may be timely to consider how staff return to the office in the coming months. SMEs could save office space costs by rotating which staff visit office/workspaces and when. If homeworking is here to stay in your business, have you considered which policies/procedures need to be updated, including employment contracts. Flexible working and different working patterns can also be a great support to employees, either on a temporary or permanent basis.

  • Tip – When working from home, we know there is the temptation for people to be online, responsive, and available at all times; encourage your team to adopt a good work-life balance and set a good example yourself. Encourage regular breaks away from the computer and getting out in the fresh air during lunch breaks or after work.


Above all, communication is key! This area really is worth giving some serious consideration to. Things to consider include the method of communication, frequency, content and tone, and your audience.

  • Tip – Keeping to a routine for communication can help, especially when your staff are homeworking; maybe start or end your day/week with a Zoom call or try weekly emails with business updates alongside some more regular 1-1s. 

At the HR Dept we are specialists in HR support for SMEs across all these areas and more. 

If you need to explore any of these areas in more detail in your business, get in touch with us and we can work with you to make plans for your business and staff in 2021.

Caroline Raybould
The HR Dept North Birmingham
M 07799 898878
T 0121 323 5488