Covid-19 and Mental HealthApril 23, 2020
While the ongoing pandemic is affecting business and social aspects of everyday life, experts are predicting it may also have a lasting effect on our collective mental health. In this blog, Goldstein Legal will explore actions franchisors and franchisees can take to safeguard the mindfulness of employees and strengthen team stamina.
As many as one in six people in the UK have experienced a mental health issue, and conditions such as depression are particularly prevalent in entrepreneurs. Franchisors and franchisees are especially aware that operating a business can be demanding even without adding the current ongoing pressure and uncertainty relating to Covid-19. However, there are measures that franchise networks can put in place to identify and support those experiencing mental health difficulties at this time.
Franchisors have a responsibility to their franchisees, network, and brand, to address mental health issues as early as possible. In order to do so, franchisors must first promote clear and open lines of communication and a positive franchise support culture. Depending on the size of the franchise network, this could take the form of a one-to-one email expressing an openness to discuss concerns, or the introduction of a mental health officer dedicated to assisting franchisees at this time. Having the appropriate system in place will encourage franchisees that may be experiencing difficulties to seek assistance at an early stage before a crisis develops. The implementation of an open mental health culture is not only beneficial to franchisors in need of help, but also mitigates the negative impact that such issues may have on the overall franchise brand. Franchisors are also encouraged to take ownership of their own mental health in order to promote acceptance and give franchisees the confidence to seek assistance and support through their franchise community.
It is also recommended that franchisees adopt mental health strategies to assist employees that may be experiencing issues. This is particularly important in customer facing franchises where the health and approach of employees is directly linked to business success. In order to enable the support system at franchisee level, it is recommended that franchisors incorporate a mental health policy within their operation manuals that can then be implement on the ground. This is particularly important in the current climate as franchises seek different ways of working that may have an impact on the health and well-being of the entire network community.
The British Franchise Association (bfa) offers ongoing support to franchisors and franchisees, including business advisory seminars and training. Affiliated and prospective members are encouraged to make use of the online resources currently offered by the bfa, especially those that assist in the development and implementation of management strategies such as those mentioned above.
Further information is also available from the following resources:
BFA – https://www.thebfa.org/