With so many new challenges and threats over recent months we all have a story to tell. Of course, it’s no different for us. The challenges we have faced over this period have forced us to change and adapt. We too have had to recover, dust ourselves off and find new ways of surviving and thriving in the pandemic world. Here we present our story of resilience training through Covid and beyond. It is the story of our own adaptation to the new normal and our mission to support others to recover and thrive.
Our Covid Story
Back in March 2020 Covid-19 cases started to rise in the UK. We immediately recognised the strain that this would potentially place on both individuals and businesses. Although at the time we could not have predicted the extent of the devastation it would wreak. We knew we had the tools to help people and businesses to limit the psychological and emotional impact, to bounce back and thrive again.
Despite knowing we had a lot to offer, when we entered lockdown, we were not sure how best to support our clients. Our training and coaching have always been delivered in person, face to face. As clinical psychologists we understand the crucial role played by this interpersonal connection in supporting behaviour change and skill development. We knew our expertise was needed more than ever. But when we could not be with them in person, we wondered how we could continue to support our clients to build wellbeing and resilience.
Thankfully at the very start of lockdown one of our much valued, longstanding customers* threw us a lifeline. They asked for our help in offering training and support to staff through the challenges of lockdown and remote working. They wanted to trial online sessions and had confidence that we could successfully deliver this.
So, we accepted the challenge. And set about developing a whole new series of resilience and wellbeing resources that we could offer remotely.
Resilience training through Covid
Following consultation with the HR lead and CEO we were able to identify the specific wellbeing needs of staff. We put together a package of online wellbeing and resilience support to meet these needs. This was made available to all staff and included a combination of group training and individual resilience coaching.
The online format was completely new to us. It presented us with unique challenges: learning how to use the technology, ensuring the training sessions were both engaging and informative, creating emotional safety despite not being face to face and of course the challenge of unreliable internet connections!
Ensuring positive outcomes
The decision to offer a combination of group learning and individual coaching was crucial. It allowed us to accommodate the differing needs and learning styles of participants, and to ensure positive outcomes.
Individual sessions were important for those staff who needed a confidential and supportive space. It allowed them to discuss personal matters that were impacting health and wellbeing, both at work and at home. For these people, an individually tailored approach meant skills and strategies targeted at addressing their specific challenges could be provided.
Conversely, the group training provided opportunity to share experiences with colleagues who were facing similar challenges. This resilience training provided staff with skills and strategies to manage those challenges. And the supportive group setting encouraged participants to test out the new skills and build confidence using them.
This organisation took an approach that made staff wellbeing a central priority during the early stages of the pandemic and lockdown. Staff were offered a choice of support through the options of group or individual sessions. And they could attend both if they wanted to. Although not everyone needed it, those that took up the combined offer found it helped them put new skills into practice and to consolidate their learning. Many participants reported that our support was central to them coping effectively through difficult times.
Our experience of working with this organisation also helped us to survive and bounce back. Through taking up this opportunity we found new effective ways of working that we would not have tried otherwise. And the success we have had has persuaded a whole range of new clients to overcome their pre-conceptions about what works in training and try our online approach.
Staying mentally healthy beyond Covid
As workplaces have begun to open up, a whole host of new challenges have emerged. Not least, the increase in common mental health problems. The need for employers to be mental health aware will be a top priority for keeping staff healthy and in work.
Sadly, we are not yet ‘beyond’ Covid. Resilience training through Covid and beyond will be essential if we, as individuals and organisations are to survive. It will require managers to be skilled at supporting staff through the challenges they are facing. And employers will need to put in place strategies to manage the mental health impact of ongoing threat and change.
In response to this ongoing and evolving need, we have developed a brand-new series of webinars focusing on mental health. These sessions are aimed at supporting staff wellbeing at all levels of the organisation. Session topics include: ‘how to navigate through challenge and change’; ‘adjusting to the return to work’; ‘creating resilient teams’; and ‘talking about mental health’.
Contact us for your free consultation and to talk through the resources you need to survive, recover and thrive over the coming months.
*We will be forever thankful to Lisa Tomlinson, Head of HR and Mel Lenehan, CEO at Fircroft College of Adult Education for believing in us and the effectiveness of our wellbeing support. As an organisation whose mission is to promote social justice and provide an excellent learning environment for all, Fircroft’s values attune with ours. By embedding staff mental health and wellbeing at the core of their work they are enabled to deliver on their vision: ‘Learning to create a better world’.