Looking after the mental health of workers is vital and lone workers, by the very nature of their work, are more likely to be susceptible to mental health issues. So, this week we are going to look at the best ways of protecting the mental health of lone workers.
Lone Working Not Lonely Working
Lone workers can often feel isolated as they aren’t physically working with a team or colleagues in a building.
One of the most important ways to keep on top of mental health is communication.
Small issues or worries will, over time, grow and can become overwhelming if a lone worker is left to their own devices with no outlet for any thoughts or worries.
Arranging to speak with your lone workers once a day could have a huge positive impact on their mental health.
It doesn’t have to be a formal diarised meeting, just a quick call to see how they are will help them to feel supported.
It doesn’t even have to be a call, some may prefer a text, but we think that actually talking to a human voice has a faster and more positive impact.
If this is done every day if possible then any issues can be discussed and ironed out. As opposed to a lone worker keeping the stress to themselves and then only contacting a colleague or manager when they feel they are at breaking point.
Also, to work effectively it ought to be a 2-way arrangement, so if they want to call you, they can and won’t get put through to voicemail for a long time.
Lone Worker Policies And Wellbeing
Depending on the size of a company and how lone working has evolved within it, there may be existing lone worker policies.
If there are or if policies and procedures need to be created, then it is important that lone workers are involved in the process.
If a policy is just created and dictated by management, it can have the opposite effect and hinder, not help.
Similarly, any health and wellbeing policies should incorporate the specific health and wellbeing requirements that lone workers will need.
Team Meetings And Social Occasions
Although lone workers obviously spend a large proportion of their time working alone, they could and should be invited to and involved in team meetings.
Or could they work in the office or building for a couple of days a month?
It’s all too easy because they are not seen every day, for lone workers to be inadvertently excluded from team meetings and the general day to day chatter with their colleagues.
Also, as most companies like to have nights out, especially for birthdays and over the Christmas period always make sure they are involved.
Include lone worker in discussions about when and where to go out. So, they feel involved and not just invited at the last minute as an afterthought.
Even if they can’t or would rather not attend, simply making them feel part of the team will have a positive impact. Especially during the festive period when they will hear about other people having office parties etc and could start to feel left out and a bit isolated.
Health Benefits For Lone Workers
We briefly mentioned earlier about wellbeing policies. If there isn’t already, could there be other health benefits that could be offered?
Could they be given the option of a private health care scheme that the whole company could use?
For example, free or discounted access to a gym or counselling services?
Quite often gyms and other wellbeing companies will offer a discount to companies, so it’s always worth asking.
Are there other workers that attend or arrange swimming or running classes? Could they be offered out to the rest of the team, including any lone workers?
Companies such as Wellspace have seen that by including health and wellbeing within a company it not only benefits all workers but will also have a positive impact on morale and productivity.
Lone Worker Safety
Here at First2HelpYou we have previously written about what must the employer of a lone worker do?
Ensuring that your lone workers are kept as safe as possible is paramount. From risk assessments to lone worker devices and everything in between.
If you have a good read of that previous blog post, you will see lots of tips and info on the best ways to help their safety.
All of which will have the added benefit of helping you in protecting the mental health of lone workers.
Get In Touch
If you would like to speak to us about any aspect of mental health protection for lone workers or would like advice or guidance on lone working in general then please do not hesitate to contact us.
You can call us on 0333 7729401, email [email protected] or via our online contact form.