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Mind the Gap. Returning to work and mental health after Covid-19

Module 1 - What Workplaces Can Do

These learning bursts will give you practical ways to support mental health for individuals, teams and organisations. They will look at preventative approaches, as well as how to support people with mental health challenges to feel safe and in control at work, both in the virtual working space and face-to-face. Supporting everyone to live and work in a way that promotes positive mental health and wellbeing.


These learning shorts introduce our mental health theme and why taking a proactive approach is important to helping us all feel cared for.

How are you?

In this opening video, Stephanie Davies explains the importance of asking, ‘How are you?’ and introduces the mental health learning burst series.

Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

In this video, Kerry Leigh talks about the subtle differences we might notice in people we know and how they can be clues to how we’re feeling. She encourages you to get to know your colleagues a bit more and how, in doing so, you’ll be able to notice when something might not be right.

Find out more about the Laughology Mind the Gap mental health virtual workshop ...


Reading time approx. 5 minutes. Support your team getting back to work through clear communication and planning.

Mental Health: - Supporting People Back to Work

Over the past months, we’ve witnessed one of the biggest crises the world has ever seen and there’s no doubt that it’s affected people’s mental health. 

Some people are now returning to work and whilst this is good news, we must recognise that several will return to work experiencing new or existing mental health challenges. People will be leaving the safety of their homes and transitioning from lockdown to returning to work, which may bring varying levels of anxiety and stress. 

“More than two-fifths of UK workers are anxious about the prospect of returning to the workplace following the coronavirus outbreak.” 


So, what can you do to make the transition back to work a little easier?

Communicate through regular conversations 

Uncertainty makes anxiety far worse, so help people focus on things they can control. Communicate regular, clear updates so everyone’s kept in the loop, otherwise people will adopt the ‘crystal ball’ mindset and start creating their own (negative) updates - known here at Laughology as ‘wonky thoughts’.

It’s also crucial that you have regular catch ups about people’s overall wellbeing, listening to what’s being said, as well as what’s not being said. British people tend to say we’re fine when we’re not; we think it’s the polite thing to do. 

So ask questions and listen to ensure that they really are okay and reassure them of support if needed. We’re all unique and therefore it’s key that you adapt, showing flexibility in your approach - what works for one person may not work for another. 

People need to feel psychologically safe to be motivated and productive. 

Signpost people to where they can get help and support

If people have access to an employee’s assistant plan, make sure they’re aware of any mental health services available to them through this, and also inform them of any other tools and resources available to support them. 

Have a WRAP

Here at Laughology, we have developed a Work Ready Action Plan (WRAP) that you can use to support you, your teams, and individuals when getting back to work. 

A WRAP should cover the following:

  • Approaches and behaviours people can adopt to support being back at work
  • Support that’s needed from their manager or leader
  • Actions and positive steps that they (and their manager) can take if they’re experiencing stress or poor mental health     
  • Agreed times to review the WRAP and any support measures that have been put 

in place, to see if they are still working

  • Anything else that would be useful in supporting people to get back to work in a safe    and supportive way
  • Checking any challenges that have arisen because of Covid-19, such as being a vulnerable person, looking after children or elderly relatives which means working patterns have changed. 

A WRAP reminds us what we need to do to stay well and feel safe at work.

Role modelling

Lead from the front and share how you’re coping -  what are you doing to look after your own well-being? Don’t be afraid to share your own struggles. If we’re going to reduce the stigma surrounding mental ill health and develop a culture of wellbeing and support, then we all need to start talking openly and honestly. 

“The mental health crisis stemming from Covid-19 is serious and will be with us for some time to come. Let’s approach it with compassion, honesty, and openness. We will emerge from this as better leaders, better people, and better companies.” 




In this section you’ll find a cheat sheet, which is a practical guide to what you can do to support mental health. You’ll also find a buzz session, which is an activity sheet you can have a go at either by yourself or with colleagues.

Mental health cheat sheet

This cheat sheet gives practical ways you can support mental health in your workplace. You can do these practical steps virtually too. Have a read and have a go!

Buzz activity cheat sheet

This buzz activity sheet can be done by yourself or with others, virtually or face to face with people you live with. It’s a short 10 minute activity to help you understand how to access positive emotions to feel calm, in control or confident in any situation.

Coming up...

Next week is all about how we look after ourselves and others. There will be practical ways we can do this, as well as some simple but effective ways we can support people with mental health issues.
big chat about mental health logo


Are organisations and companies just paying lip service?
Join some of the most interesting and respected voices in positive psychology for our Our Big Chat about…Thinking outside the tick box, inaugural webinar. Our two and half hour interactive event will look at the best mental health strategies for organisations, identifying what works and what doesn’t.

Dave McPartlin:

Dave is the Headteacher of Flakefleet Primary School.
Creating the right environment for people and communities to flourish

Sunita Hirani

Sunita is one of the BBC’s key equality, diversity and inclusivity experts.
Why inclusion is essential for mental wellbeing

Professor Sir Cary Cooper

Cary is one the world’s most influential voices in occupational health and wellbeing.
Enhancing Mental Wellbeing at Work. Evidence based strategies for creating a wellbeing culture at work.

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