Author: Lloyd Humphreys, SilverCloud Health
Covid-19 has left an emotional mark on the workforce. There is no doubt that companies have a shared responsibility to create and maintain organisational wellbeing.
In this podcast episode, Robin Lewis, Senior HR Director at Cigna International Markets, and Jorge Palacios, Digital Health Scientist at SilverCloud Health, share their expertise around supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace post-COVID-19.
Robin Lewis provides valuable insights from an HR perspective and highlights a big uptake in terms of emotional and wellbeing support of members. Globally, there has been an increased interest from customers in digital and online support, such as telemedicine counselling and online conversations.
He also addresses the need for leadership and management for a new skill set around building resilience and sharing empathy to support teams. This is particularly important as employees go through times of increased uncertainty, isolation, and anxiety. Robin discusses some practical approaches that managers take in Cigna to enable better communication and support employees’ transition to the ‘new normal’. He speaks about a long-term approach to accelerate the conversation about the workplace of the future and whether there is a more sensible balance of working from home.
Furthermore, Robin talks about a cultural shift that needs to happen and how organisations can become a supportive environment where employee wellbeing and resilience is accelerated. With this in mind, he addresses some of the employee’s responsibilities of speaking up and how line managers can support these conversations.
In the second part of the podcast, Jorge Palacios brings in his expertise around how the pandemic has impacted individuals’ mental health and long-term effects, both directly and indirectly. He speaks about how working from home can create stress for many people and shares valuable tips on how to structure the day and set boundaries to work.
Lastly, Jorge and Robin discuss some of the warning signs that employers might see, including changes in mood and uncharacteristic performance issues and how managers can address them to support their employees.
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About Robin Lewis:
Robin is a Senior HR Director and leads the HR teams for Cigna’s Europe and Global Segments business and the Middle East and Africa region as well as the global service operations and total health and network teams. Before joining Cigna in 2012, Robin held global HR leadership roles in Financial Services (Group HR Director, CMC Markets) and Retail (Group HR Director, New Look) and prior to that, HR and organisational strategy consulting (PA Consulting). During his career, he has always focused on working with leaders and teams to deliver optimal organisational performance through transformational business change. He has specialised in M&A, organisational design and leadership team performance and development. Robin is a qualified coach (Tavistock Institute).
About Jorge E Palacios, MD, PhD:
Dr. Jorge E Palacios is a Digital Health Scientist for SilverCloud Health and research fellow at the E-Mental Health Research Group at Trinity College Dublin. He completed his PhD in Psychological Medicine in London, at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IoPPN). His work on trajectories of depression and anxiety symptomatology in Coronary Heart Disease earned him the Young Investigator of the Year prize from Elsevier and the European Association of Psychosomatic Medicine in 2017. Prior to his PhD, Dr. Palacios obtained his medical degree at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) in Mexico City, and won a scholarship to undertake a Masters in Psychiatric Research from King’s College London, which he passed with distinction in 2012.