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January 19, 2022

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return to work

Mental Health First Aid England urges caution over mandating return to work

MHFA Chief Executive, Simon Blake, says there is ‘no space for a one size fits all approach’ and calls for employers to take a ‘fluid approach to workplace wellbeing’.

On Wednesday 19 January, Boris Johnson announced that Plan B COVID-19 restrictions will end on Thursday 27 January, urging businesses to start to prepare to welcome people back into workplaces.

MHFA CEO Simon BlakeIn response to the news, MHFA Chief Executive, Simon Blake released the following statement: “There is a lot to be said about the positive benefits of returning to a physical workplace but let’s make sure all managers are having open and non-judgemental conversations about what works best for individuals. There is no space for a one size fits all approach in the post pandemic workplace and if we have learnt anything from the last two years, it’s that things can change overnight. The next couple of weeks, could well be a transitory moment for the workplace and what works now, might not necessarily work in three months’ time, or even a year. So, let’s not enforce rigid boundaries and instead of thinking forever, take a whole organisation, fluid approach to workplace wellbeing.

“I would urge business leaders to act with caution about mandating a return to the office. We do not want to see the pendulum shift from one extreme (all home working) to the other (all office working). Let’s use the experience of the pandemic to really understand what our employees need and want to create equitable workplaces. Real flexibility and flexibility ‘done well’ is not just a reaction to trends, it is part of an overall mental health and wellbeing strategy for the organisation.”

Simon Blake was recently voted as one of the Most Influential Individuals in health & safety in 2021, by SHP readers.

Click here for the latest coronavirus advice for employers.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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