Abacus staff got lockdown help

Staff at a Black Country financial services company have been supported through the challenges to their mental health of working apart during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Michelle Francis, practice manager at Abacus Wealth Services, with Paul Lee, the managing director of Prevental Healthcare
Michelle Francis, practice manager at Abacus Wealth Services, with Paul Lee, the managing director of Prevental Healthcare

Staff at Abacus Wealth Services in Two Woods Lane, Brierley Hill, have received help with coping with the impact of carrying out their duties in isolation due to the national social distancing measures introduced during the pandemic.

Working with Prevental Healthcare, based in Wombourne, the management at Abacus Wealth Services have offered a programme of proactive support for employees initially in the form of a “resilience screening” service.

Recognising the potential risks of staff working for the company away from the office surroundings and the support of their teams, the management wanted to give employees the chance to share how they were feeling to prevent issues escalating.

Having completed a survey which offered the opportunity to discuss feelings of stress and anxiety, those needing further support had the offer of taking a course to help their situation. The questionnaires were completed on a confidential basis with the findings going exclusively to Prevental rather than their employer.

The multi-session individualised programme of applied psychology, coordinated with Prevental Healthcare, is aimed at helping participants develop a higher level of resilience as well as a wide range of coping skills for life and work-based challenges.

Nigel Round, managing director of Abacus Wealth Services, wanted to bring in expert help to support staff following the disruption to working routines from the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying lockdowns introduced since March.

Nigel said: “We recognise people have been locked away and may not have had the benefit of leaving their homes, which can be claustrophobic for many. As a business which supports people we know some can feel weak having to seek help, but we believe coping skills are extremely beneficial in the long term.

“As an employer we want people to be able to deliver better output over time but our concern for employees goes beyond the short-term future. We want people to be able to feel stronger in coping with life generally, so employee wellbeing is vital for us as employers.”

While traditionally seen as a conservative sector to work in, Nigel believes it is important that employers in financial services are open to newer ways of supporting staff and their general health.

He said: “We are a caring business as financial advisers, so we want people to be able to achieve their working objectives and have a happier life in general. We are not just here to help people during the Covid pandemic as we want to help them identify and resolve wider issues in their lives.”

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