We would encourage that, across an organisation, teams actively take time to pause and check in with themselves and each other.

This can help to create a culture where people feel listened to, connected and supported. Prerana Issar, Chief NHS People Officer has reported that team check-ins will be key for staff recovering from the effects of the pandemic. Read more about this here. 

There are a variety of ways in which teams can check-in with each other, including both formal and informal check-ins:   

Formal check-ins

These can be incorporated into team meetings, supervision sessions, peer support groups and reflective spaces.

Informal check-ins

These types of check-ins are likely to occur more frequently and spontaneously, for example, during lunch and tea breaks or anytime colleagues are in conversation and ask each other how they are doing.  

Buddying schemes

Can encourage informal check-ins as they place staff in a better position to be able to notice if their ‘buddy’ is struggling with something and may need support. For more information on buddying schemes, click here.

Our NHS people have suggested that daily check-ins during team meetings can help to:   

  • Provide an up-to-date picture of how people are managing 
  • Give teams permission to prioritise their own mental health and to recognise that this is important
  • Create a shared responsibility across the team to keep an eye on each other and to be aware of how others are managing

Tip: To best support your colleagues during check-ins, is important to consider things such as team size, location (e.g., in person or video call), hierarchies and cultural appropriateness.   

The Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust have implemented a ‘Just ask’ campaign where staff have been encouraged to take a moment daily to check in with themselves to see how they are feeling and to carry out acts of self-kindness e.g., eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising and planning to do something that they enjoy. 

  • The Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust have created a toolkit which includes advice on how to incorporate check-ins into team meetings and examples of check-in exercises.

  • ‘GoVox Wellbeing’ has been designed in collaboration with King’s College London and allows teams working remotely to regularly check-in through a short and simple questionnaire.