Mental health and redundancy

Woman holding smartphone above a laptop


Alex Sufit shares some tips to help with your mental health if you’ve been made redundant.

The Tech industry is experiencing some turbulence. Mass layoffs, compounded by a cost-of-living crisis and a difficult job market are creating a lot of anxiety for people. Whether or not you are directly affected – it’s likely you’ll be navigating uncertainty, stress, and anxiety at some point. Even those whose jobs are secure for now may be feeling the burn of watching their colleagues leave.

For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I’ve put together some tips for looking after our mental health when faced with redundancy.

First, let’s look at what you can do as an employer.

Poor mental health is estimated to cost UK employers up to £56 billion a year. Burnout, exhaustion, and mental distancing were not only more pronounced during the pandemic. Employees are still reporting a high volume of issues that affect job performance and productivity. And redundancy, which is affecting so many in Tech right now, can really take a real toll on company morale.

As an employer, remember that stress over job insecurity will likely be affecting your workforce. It’s particularly marked for lower-paid workers who don’t have a financial cushion to fall back on. One way you can support your employees is by communicating clearly, authentically, and consistently. If you need to let people go, do it with dignity – so no mass lay-offs via anonymous email. There are ways and means of doing things, however unpalatable. Each employee will have a boss – get them to set up individual meetings. The people leaving your organisation will carry your reputation with them.

Handing joined at the centre of a circle of people

Offering flexible working arrangements and the ability to take time off when needed is especially important for women, who still face the lion’s share of caring responsibilities. So be as flexible as you can, especially if teams are downsizing. Parents may be juggling childcare responsibilities, and the hefty costs associated. Soften the blow for the employees you retain.

Now onto our list. If you have been personally affected by redundancy, here are some simple things you can do to ease that transition.


We all need purpose in life. Being out of work can knock your self-esteem, and there’s no shame in admitting that. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions. You may feel shock, anger, resentment, relief, and even elation – all in a short period of time.

Give yourself space to process these emotions, and importantly reach out to someone. Whether that’s a colleague in the same boat, a trusted friend, a family member, or even by seeking professional help. You’ll find some links at the end of this post.


One surprisingly effective way to fend off depression is simply by sticking to a daily routine – so get up at the same time, make the bed, shower, and get dressed. As simple as it sounds, sticking to a daily routine can have a big impact.

Try to add a couple of good habits. So once the basics are out of the way, maybe start the day by taking a 20 mins walk around the block? Whatever it is, make it bite-size and manageable, and don’t beat yourself up if you skip a day.


One of the first practical things you’ll be thinking about is money. Money and mental health are linked. If we’re struggling with our mental health it can be hard to manage our finances, and if we’re anxious about money it can affect our mental health.

Creating a budget is a helpful step. Some people choose a regular time to review bills, say every fortnight. Whatever works for you, but try not to think about money when you’re not in the right headspace – e.g. last thing at night before bed. Pick a moment when you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, like the morning after that second cup of coffee.


Rather than pressure yourself to send off dozens of applications as soon as you’ve got the ‘dreaded news’ – take a moment to reflect on what makes you feel good.

Write a list of all your skills, strengths, and qualities. If some end up in your CV, great – but this is about focusing on all the good stuff. Write them all down and post them somewhere visible (your fridge door?). Use that as a daily reminder, or any time you need a perk-up. Finding a new job is often a marathon, not a sprint – you’re going to need this.

Woman drinks coffee sitting cross legged at laptop


It’s important to strike a balance between self-care and job-hunting. For instance, by setting aside an afternoon to polish your CV and reach out to contacts, but also 30 mins to take care of yourself.

Ask yourself what makes you feel good. It could be something as simple as walking the dog or reading a book. Again, write a list and keep it visible, then aim to do at least one a day. Simply ticking off the list, one by one, as the week progresses can give you a sense of achievement.


Adjusting to a change of routine can be difficult, so fill your time wisely in a way that works for you.

If you’re someone who prefers to keep your brain stimulated – you might consider volunteering or taking an online course. If ‘busy, busy, busy’ is your mantra, start blocking out things you can look forward to.

If you’re more of an introvert and need to decompress, then this might be the perfect time to take a short break, sign up for a yoga class or have a digital detox.

One final note. This is just a job, remember that. However excited you may have been about the mission, however much you enjoyed your colleagues – it’s a job, and you’ll get another. Try to put things into perspective. Your job is NOT your identity. So take a deep breath, and remember that this too shall pass.

As a peer of mine so aptly put it: view redundancy less as rejection, and more as re-direction. There may be something amazing waiting for you just around the corner.


Alex Sufit has been Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at a FinTech and Head of Employer Communications at the Social Mobility Commission (SMC)

A leader in transforming workplace culture – Alex Sufit has been Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at a FinTech and Head of Employer Communications at the Social Mobility Commission (SMC). She was part of the team that developed the seminal Employers Programme at the SMC, engaging with British business and the third sector to tackle the ‘class pay gap’ and boost socio-economic diversity.

Alex has been a delegate of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for the past three years and is a founding member of Chief (UK), a private network of the most powerful women executives globally.


Mental Health UK brings together four leading charities, supporting people with their mental health for nearly 50 years.

Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health issues.

Mental Health Matters is a national charity with over 35 years of experience in delivering high-quality mental health and social care services.

#mentalhealth #wellbeing #redundancy #redundancies


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