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4 Aug 2020 | 1 comment

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Mental health in independent retail

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

Coronavirus is clearly having a huge impact on retail workers, but one of the impacts that is often overlooked is its effect on the mental wellbeing of those working in our stores.

Since the beginning of the crisis, many independent retailers and their staff have been working long hours and unfamiliar shift patterns, while others are now adjusting to returning to work after a long period of time off.

Talking Retail recently published an interview with Nisa retailer and Samaritan volunteer Harj Dhasee who explained that "We all do our best, but we don't always talk on an emotional level. I've been volunteering with the Samaritans for about a year and a half, so I know how important it is to talk. In normal times, everyone has different ways of coping, whether that's playing sport or going to the pub with your mates. But with the lockdown, all of that disappeared. There's a lot of pressure on our staff and they haven't had their normal support structures around them. There's been a lot of anxiety, uncertainty and frustration."

The article urged employers to consider reaching out to their employees and encourage them to talk about any problems they may be experiencing. Employees will often not feel confident in speaking up, so a manager making the first move to open a dialogue can be key. Regular catch-ups or supervisions are an opportunity to start the conversation. Questions should be simple, open and non-judgemental to give the employee ample opportunity to explain the situation in their own words, examples of which could be:

  • How are you doing at the moment?
  • You seem to be a bit down/upset/under pressure.
  • Is everything OK?
  • Is there anything I can do to help?
  • What support do you think might be useful?
Rehab 4 Addiction have created an informational guide with the aim of it being one of many stepping stones for those struggling and their loved ones to better understand their situation and lead them to find a safe and supportive environment, especially during the pandemic.
 
The following companies can also be contacted for additional support for those struggling:
 
Mental health for small workplaces: A collection of resources for small and medium-sized businesses is available online, including practical tools, e-learning and a mobile app.
Website: https://tinyurl.com/yazzqpt2

The Samaritans: A well-known organisation has a free helpline available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, offering immediate help for anyone who is struggling. It recently launched a self-help app to suggest practical support and enable people to track their moods. It also offers workplace-specific support.
Telephone: 116 123
Email: jo@samaritans.org
Website: samaritans.org


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