This information highlights measures available to help you stay well during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

STAY AT HOME | WASH YOUR HANDS | SAVE LIVES

Regularly refer to the latest government guidance and special announcements

The government has already announced a package of measures to help people cope with the immediate economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Please click here for the latest government advice on claiming benefits, Statutory Sick Pay, etc.

GOV.UK ALERT CORONAVIRUS – New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info and exemptions at gov.uk/coronavirus. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

Support employee wellbeing

Business in the Community Northern Ireland (BITCNI) promotes a whole person approach to wellbeing that includes mental, physical, social and financial aspects. With COVID-19, all these strands of wellbeing are at risk, but it is possible to take steps to reduce those risks for yourself, and to support family members to stay well.

The following are some simple steps you can take as an individual to mitigate against those risks.

Mental

  • Discuss any mental health and wellbeing issues with your line manager or designated mental health first aider. Reach out if you’re finding things difficult
  • Avail of support and guidance offered through your employee assistance programme or from mental health charities such as Aware, Mind or Rethink Mental Illness. The Action Mental Health website offers coping tips to boost mental health during the Covid-19 crisis
  • Keep routine as much as possible, set boundaries with time and space and agree scheduled working times with your line manager, keeping your team informed and updating your online calendar
  • Practice or learn about mindfulness, and take part in activities which keep you present such as reading, cooking, or something creative
  • Limit your access to news and seek out reputable sources of information
  • Join the Business in the Community Mental Health Webinar on Monday 20 April at 10:00 – 10:30 am. Sign up here

Physical

Protect yourself and others against coronavirus by following NHS advice.

  • Take regular exercise – this releases anxiety-reducing chemicals, while acting as a healthy distraction. The NHS has guidance on gym-free exercises and YouTube is a great place to access free instructional home workout videos
  • Get up regularly – take breaks to stretch and get fresh air
  • Eat healthily – good nutrition has a positive impact on your mood
  • Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol – these can make anxiety worse
  • Develop a bedtime routine to improve sleep
  • Consider taking part in a physical challenge with a goal eg Couch to 5k
  • Join the Business in the Community Physical Health Webinar on Wednesday 22 April at 10:00 – 10:30 am. Sign up here

Social

  • Stay connected – Maintain contact and interaction with others during work time through video calls and group chats that will give you a sense of community. Connecting with and looking after each other can be a huge comfort.
  • Check in regularly with others who are self-isolating
  • Get a work buddy for the week– and catch up via phonecall over a coffee or walk. Switch buddies from week-to-week and avoid business chat if possible
  • Share positivity – be mindful that some colleagues, friends and family be limiting their news intake. You might want to ask them beforehand, if they’re happy for you to talk to them about current affairs.
  • Ofcom – stay Connected during the coronavirus

Financial

You may be experiencing financial stress with increased utility bills from working from home as well as having concerns over the security of employment with the economic impact of COVID-19.

  • Are any work-related causes that could be impacting your financial wellbeing such as pay, contract type or shift patterns? Discuss action to mitigate those risks with your line manager
  • Advice NI and NI Direct offer information on benefits and money that may be available to those experiencing financial stress
  • Money Advice Service offers a range of advice services including mortgages, universal credit and self-employment. These services are offered via webchat.
  • Join the Business in the Community Financial Webinar on Monday 6 April at 10:00 – 10:30 am. Sign up here

General

  • If you and your family are working from home, it might be putting pressure on your broadband. If you can’t get a download speed of 10 Mbit/s and an upload speed of 1 Mbit/s, you can request an upgraded connection. Download Ofcom’s factsheet here for information on how to make this request.

 

For more information, support and guidance in relation to COVID-19, including practical actions for your business, visit www.bitcni.org.uk or contact info@bitcni.org.uk.