How to Support Your Employees' Mental Health During a Pandemic
The global pandemic has greatly impacted daily life as we know it and is taking its toll on all of us. It has impacted not only the physical health of many individuals but their mental health as well. Employees now are currently experiencing more fear and anxiety than usual. The uncertainty about the state of their health, jobs and the future are causing employees to feel heightened levels of stress.
Here are five ways that employers can support their employees during a pandemic:
Offer mental health resources by utilizing technology
Technology is a great enabler and now is the time to use it to provide a variety of mental health programs, with employees working remotely. Putting licensed counselors on call, meditation platforms and virtual education for employees to learn coping mechanisms and stress management would help. Employees are also turning to collaboration tools and video conferences to discuss work and maintain relationships with co-workers while working from home, which can have a positive effect on employee well-being.
Reinforce the importance of taking care of mental and physical well-being
Create employee wellness programs to educate and provide self-help and self-care resources because the fear of stigma often prevents some employees from getting the help they need. Starting the conversation can lessen the stigma while providing education. It would also be helpful if you could bring a virtual therapist to discuss ways of recognizing symptoms and improving mental health.
Strongly communicate available resources
The challenges employees are currently facing won’t be instantly resolved when the crisis eventually ends, which is why continuous communication about mental well-being even after things return to the “new normal is very important. Letting them know the mental health and well-being resources available to them and showing empathy in a time of crisis can go a long way – not just for the overall well-being of your employees but for the company’s health long-term.
Well-being should be a priority
Companies should prioritize their employees’ entire well-being, including physical, mental and financial health, all year round – not just during a crisis. Companies should have these resources built into their benefits plan to show they care about their workforce beyond this period in time. By making the overall well-being of your workforce a top priority, company leaders can ensure they emerge as a healthier and more united organization after experiencing a major crisis.
Show empathy and leadership
Managers should take extra steps during this time to check in with their team on a daily basis about things other than work as employees are now feeling a sense of uncertainty and heightened stress about their health, job and financial security.
For some leaders, working from home means being ‘plugged in’ 24/7 and employees can end up with additional work-related stress. Remind and let employees to log off and go for a walk, spend time with family or just take time for themselves to foster a stress-free environment in uncertain times and improve productivity.