The world has seen so much suffering and tragedy due to war. With the ongoing war in the Ukraine and Russia, it is important to recognise the unique challenges that these individuals face and create a workplace environment that is supportive and empathetic to their experiences and concerns for their loved ones still living there. 

Here are some tips for business owners on how to look after employees that have lived through or experienced war: 

Create an open and supportive environment 

Employees need to feel safe, comfortable and encouraged to talk about their experiences and concerns. This applies to all mental health needs and support. If you don’t already have a relaxing space to use, then look at creating one. Quiet, private and tranquil needs to be the focus. The right environment is essential for promote calmness. 

Encourage employees to open up, share their stories and feelings, and be sure to listen without judgement or criticism. Make sure your employees know that you are there to support them. 

Mobile Phone usage policies 

Due to the need to communicate with their friends and families back from their home country, they may need to organise additional mobile phone usage. Provide them with a quiet private space. 

Ensure they are able to ask to use their phone if they need to check the safety of their friends and families.  

They may also need to support their child with their settling into a new school who may be subjected to bullying, harassment or victimisation. 

Inclusive and transparent  

Any trauma experiences need to be understood by all members of staff, so they understand why they may need to have additional breaks or make more phone calls than others. 

Have small team meetings with staff members to educate them on the company policy with supporting their colleague through this difficult time. 

There should be a zero tolerance on victimisation, bullying and harassment within the workplace and the consequences should be made clear to all. 

Mental Health support in work 

Appoint a few members of staff who will be their emotional or practical support within work. Someone they feel comfortable with talking to when they need to. 

If you need additional support then the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) service is available through various healthcare providers. Search for your local provider or a company that you may use already for healthcare cover.   

Be Patient 

As you may know, everyone deals with trauma differently, the time it takes to process traumatic experiences will be vary for each individual.  

They may need more time to adjust to the workplace and may need extra support and understanding.  

Remember once implementing any changes, to assess how effective they have been.  Ask them if their mental health has improved, but be prepared to be told it is taking longer than expected. 

There should be no time limit given, just reviewed and adjusted as and when needed. 

If you practice this for anyone in need of mental health support, then you will have happier, more effective employees and gain a caring, supportive reputation as an employer. 

If you need further support and advice please get in touch with Lisa Cessford or Tracy Stephen on