CORONAVIRUS AND MENTAL HEALTH
The coronavirus outbreak may be a physical health crisis; however it is also taking a toll on people’s mental health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) put out guidance on ways to handle the feeling of stress caused by the pandemic and those with mental health.
As news streams continue to flood with reports this can add to feelings of stress. The WHO recommend reading updates once or twice a day and using official sources of information to avoid fake news reports.
It can also be helpful to take a break from social media or mute specific words or accounts that can make you anxious. For people finding social distancing measures difficult, try sticking to a routine and planning regular communication check-ins with friends and relatives.
If you are working from home, video call a friend or colleague in the background for company as it is suggested it helps to relieve stress by maintaining social interaction. Furthermore, helping others has proven to have mental health benefits. This can be as small as ordering someone’s shopping or texting someone you have not spoken to in a while.
ICO GUIDANCE ON CORONAVIRUS AND DATA PROTECTION
Your personal information may not be your first thought when it comes to coronavirus. The ICO have provided some information to help. Visit the ICO for information on coronavirus and personal data.
What you need to know;
- The NHS and other organisations will make available vital public health messages via phone, email or text, consent is not required to access this.
- There may be a case where you may be asked to give details regarding any sensitive health conditions or recent travel excursions. Employers and organisations are still obligated to protect their staff; therefore, it may be reasonable for your employer to ask for the destination you have visited or if you have experienced coronavirus symptoms.
- Employers and organisations are only to ask you questions specifically related to the topic at hand, furthermore if you experience any concerns speak to your employer.
- If you become ill with coronavirus, your employer is expected to inform your colleagues however this should be confidential until you provide consent to give out your name.
- If you have made a Freedom of Information request from a public body or made a subject access request (SAR) for your own information, there are expected delays in response due to organisations diverting majority of their resources to help with other challenges.
GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS
- Keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
- Work from home is strongly advised where possible.
- Ensure employees who are in a vulnerable group are strongly advised to follow social distancing guidance
- Ensure employees contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
- Make sure all Senior managers and other members of management are aware to spot symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting, sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace is potentially infected appropriate action will need to be in place
- Encourage employees to regularly wash hands and ensure there are places to do so. It has been recommended to wash hands for 20 seconds. Ensure you have adequate supply of soap, provide hand sanitizer and tissues for staff.
LBC-ADVICE ON SOCIAL DISTANCING
During this Covid-19 outbreak the government is encouraging to work from home for the foreseeable future. E & L supports organisations and staff with their online security and additional IT security measures to ensure you are as secure as you would be in the office. GDPR and Cyber Security training is vital to any organisation during this transitional period therefore we conduct bespoke training guides or training sessions.