INSIDE: I think we can all agree that the massive shifts that have taken place in the world over the past year haven’t been easy, and we’re all going through some “stuff” as a result of it. If you see a coworker struggling, you can be there to help.
We’re all struggling in our own unique way, and sometimes we need support from the people around us to push through and see the light on the other side.
We spend a lot of time in the workplace and we get to know each other’s quirks, personalities, and trials and tribulations as a result. You can offer support to a coworker who is dealing with something in their life that is challenging their mental health, but it’s not always easy to know where to begin.
Here are a few helpful hints on how best to support someone at work when they are struggling…
Just Be There to Listen
Talking about mental health struggles can be difficult. It’s especially difficult if you don’t feel you’re being properly listened to.
A good listener will not make assumptions or jump to conclusions. They will also make it clear that they are willing to listen. Take a quiet moment to tell your colleague that you are there for them if they ever want to chat, and make it clear that they can do that on their own terms.
Create a Positive Work Environment
If your colleague has taken time off due to stress, depression, or any other mental health condition then they may feel anxious about returning to work. Try to make the transition as easy for them as possible.
A phased return may be suitable and you can try to encourage others to create a positive workplace by setting a good example and promoting Mental Health Awareness in the workplace.
This can mean not working past finishing time or over breaks and making sure that this behavior isn’t rewarded. Instead, promote breaks as needed and demonstrate that overworking and competitiveness is not a quality that will be admired in your working environment.
Instead, reward team building and activities that help promote a wellbeing and balance in the workplace.
Offer Caring Gestures
A small treat or reward can often show someone you care and value their input in the workplace. A caring gesture can be as small as treating someone to a cup of coffee or it can be as big as doing a fundraising day for an activity close to their heart.
Think about the person and what would make them happy. Remember the gesture isn’t about you and it should not be used as a way to signal your compassion to others in the office.
Don’t try to draw attention to the gesture as this may be embarrassing for your colleague. Instead, try to modestly and discreetly demonstrate that you care about them.
A small gesture of kindness can transform someone’s day. Have a few ideas in the back of your mind so you don’t need to spend a long time thinking about what to do for someone if they are having a stressful day.
Finally, remember that there will be good days and bad days. If someone has a fantastic Monday, this does not mean Tuesday will be the same. Don’t expect your colleague’s productivity to increase in a clear trajectory. We’re all dealing with a lot and we all have our ups and downs.