Contracting and Mental Health

During Covid-19, there has been increased pressures in working life, it’s not a surprise that mental health is now the number one issue for staff absences in the UK workplace. The latest figures suggest that mental health days currently account for 15.8 million days of absence each year.

We all know that mental health encompasses a wide range of ailments – depression, anxiety and stress being the leading factors related to vocation and employment. But as symptoms become more widely recognized and stigmas begin to dissolve, advice and guidance has continued to improve.

Frequently, a change in a working setting can serve as an improvement to drive and lead to rejuvenation of self-worth. Contracting can be a rewarding option, and can offer the freedom to change your life for the better.  Who doesn’t want to choose when they work and what projects to get involved in?   However the frantic lifestyle of meeting deadlines, finding that next project and working to a high standard to secure that next contract has the capability of affecting your mental wellbeing negatively.

We want you to know that we are always here to support you. At UCC we’re very conscious of the benefits of self-care and emotional wellness for our staff. Taking a positive stance, we qualified two of our senior managers as Mental Health First Aiders at the start of this year – we asked them for a few pointers about creating balance and maintaining a healthy mindset:

  • You are in the privileged position that you have the flexibility to choose when you work. Use this to your advantage, take time out to meet with family and friends.
  • Take holidays or breaks between contracts, take this time to recharge your batteries, it can be tempting to take the next contract on offer. It is a statutory requirement for permanent employees to take leave and you should ensure you do the same.
  • Homeworking, keep this to a minimum.
  • Take a break from your emails. Dedicate a specific time in the evening and at the weekend when you will check your emails and don’t be tempted to check out-with this time.
  • Improve social interaction within the workplace. Take some time out to meet your colleagues.
  • Get away from your desk at lunchtime. Go for a walk outdoors if you can.
  • Keep a tidy, organized work space so that you’re not met with chaos every morning.- Structure your day and write to do lists. Check off these to do lists as you accomplish tasks.
  • Set realistic goals and expectations of yourself.

Today also marks the start of the annual monthly Talk To Us Campaign.  This annual event highlights the wonderful work that the Samaritans charity brings on a daily basis, supporting people at times of need.  Find out how we can help visit: https://www.samaritans.org/

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