Supporting employees affected by the war in Ukraine

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Health Assured team

01 March 2022

The devastating news and images coming out of Ukraine right now are deeply distressing. These are uncertain, confusing, and turbulent times. Even more so for the people who are directly affected. But the impact still spreads far and wide for people with relatives or friends in danger, those worried about the deployment of UK troops and those watching from afar. 

In times of increased anxiety and uncertainty, it’s important to recognise how your employees might be affected. Many people across the UK will be feeling overwhelmed and distressed by the ongoing conflict and this can have an impact on day-to-day life at work. It’s a complex situation that is new to us all right now. But as an employer, you have a duty of care to protect your employees. So we wanted to provide some guidance for you to navigate these tough times together.

Identifying workers affected by the crisis

Ask managers to check in with the wellbeing of their teams regularly. During times of crisis, it’s important to reach out to staff and let them know support is there, should they need it. Ensure that managers and employees keep up with their regular one on one catchups. These meetings will provide employees with an opportunity to open up about any problems they might be facing.

Creating a culture of support

It’s important to communicate to employees that you support them in and outside of the workplace. Make sure your staff know that their health, safety, and wellbeing is the priority. Let them know how they can access support and signpost to any wellbeing services you might have in place. If you can encourage senior leaders to adopt these values, it helps set this culture in stone.

What sort of support is appropriate?

If an employee is affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it might be difficult to stay engaged and productive at work. You may wish to offer reasonable adjustments to help them manage this challenging time. For example, it could be allowing breaks when needed, flexible working hours or working from home. If you have any wellbeing and mental health support in place, make sure you signpost employees to this service. Employees might forget the support available during times of need. But these services are vital now more than ever.

How to talk about trauma and crisis in the workforce

An open conversation around mental health and surrounding topics is always the best approach to take. Trauma can have devastating implications if ignored. But when trauma and crisis are worked through and understood, recoveries are quicker. It could be via email communications, in company meetings or with posters around the workplace—these are all good ways to reinforce the message.

Health Assured can help you support your employees during turbulent times. Get in touch with one of our wellbeing experts today on 0800 206 2534 to learn more about how you can improve mental health in the workplace. 

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