How to support your team's mental health when deadlines are tight

World Mental Health Day may take place on the 10th October every year, but it’s important to keep your employees’ mental health in mind all year round. This includes your permanent employees, and your contingent staff or interim managers.  

Much like physical health, mental health is a daily reality that managers, interims and employees all need to be aware and supportive of. Yet mental health can be a challenging concept to accommodate in the workplace, many stigmas still exist around it that can make it uncomfortable to talk about it. However, some of the common factors that can affect an employee’s mental health include stress and anxiety, which are naturally stirred by the intensity and fast-paced deadlines of the modern workplace. 

However, it is in an employer’s best interests to foster a company culture of compassion and support towards mental health concerns as a lack of support has been linked to low productivity, missed deadlines, dissatisfied and unmotivated employees, difficulty attracting and retaining new talent, and a high staff turnover.  


Why is mental health at work important? 

In senior-level positions, your plate is already crammed full of responsibilities, people and teams to manage, deadlines to hit, etc., and adding your team’s mental health into your considerations might just seem like one more task that slips to the bottom of the pile. However, last year the government issued a survey to understand more about the effects of poor mental health support in the workplace and they found: 

89% said that a lack of mental health support from management affected their working life. What’s more, nearly half of all respondents said that they had considered resigning from a job because it impacted their mental health. 

Staff turnover, sickness and lost productivity resulting from poor mental health cost UK employers £42bn last year. 

It is clearly worthwhile to invest in company-wide mental health support for your employees and contingent staff.  

Interim managers and mental health 

Whilst interim managers should not be considered in the same way as your full-time employees, support for their mental health is equally important. Their roles and position within your company is,almost invariably, a stressful one.  

Whilst they are very good at hitting tight deadlines, motivating and coordinating small, large or disparate teams, large-scale project management and much more, when there are numerous hurdles and roadblocks that stall their work, this can lead to frustration, stress and the delay of your projects timeframes.  


3 ways to reduce the stress levels of your interim managers  

Simplify approval processes 

If your interim manager has to go through several levels of approval for simple processes, this will impact the way they are able to cope with the pressure of keeping the project on-track to meet its deadlines. Interim managers have very senior levels of experience and are able to operate autonomously, so giving them the authority within your organisation to approve tasks and work will help to support their stress levels. 


Be clear about expectations and regularly communicate 

Whether your interim manager works on site or remotely, you need to make sure that expectations are clear from the onset of the contract. This will help your interim mitigate anxieties about unclear or vague expectations. Maintaining regular communication and updates with them will also put their mind at ease that any issues that do arise will be caught quickly and adjusted to get the project back on track. 


Provide additional resources quickly 

If your interim needs a report or document quickly to be able to complete part of their project or instruct their team, send it as quickly as you can or give them an estimated time of receipt. This will help them adjust their timeframes to accommodate receiving the additional resources and let them get on with something else, reducing stress and anxiety and allowing them to manage the project smoothly. 

Supporting employees’ and interims’ mental health in the workplace is not the end of the matter when it comes to mental health and business, however. Checking in on your network of professional contacts and clients to see how they are, whether they need any help or support will not only bolster you and your company’s reputation, it could also bring in additional business! 


Oakwood Resources can help you implement a support strategy to ensure your employees and interim managers are able to cope with their working life. We can also accelerate your business requirements by sourcing interim managers who are assessed based on their skills and experience and who can work alongside you to deliver successful outcomes for your business’ operational needs.  


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