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Employees Mental Health During COVID-19  

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Employees’ Mental Health During COVID-19  

Supporting Employees’ Mental Health During COVID-19  

COVID-19 has greatly affected how we move and run our lives daily, most especially employees are now adjusting to a new way of life. As employers apply the necessary precautionary health measures to ensure the safety of their workers, adjusting to these changes can affect employees. For example, as social distancing slowly became the new norm, employers have opted to transition to remote work. Although the idea of working at the comfort of your own home is ideal, the changes and stressful navigation of working in literally a homey environment can be stressful.   

Adding to the uneasiness employees feel with the changes in their work routine and environment is the uncertainties in the health of our economy that brought many companies to temporarily lay off their employees, and the increasing numbers of patients infected by the virus. Research shows (Kaiser Family Poll) has shown that aside from the deterioration of physical health across the country, as coronavirus swept nations, mental health issues are also making a rise to the curve. Ranging from depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and more, data have shown huge spikes in numbers that the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed their mental health especially employees.   

Keeping your employee’s mental health is always a priority, and during a pandemic giving the extra mile can bring positive changes and can help them adjust easily to the new norm. This can also be a good time to assert leadership and promote teamwork in protecting their well-being and during these trying times. Here are some healthy steps and ways your HR and management can help relieve, support, and manage your employees’ mental health:  

 

Using technology to share mental health information  

Today’s technology has helped everyone to communicate better, work efficiently, and find sources in a matter of seconds. For employers and employees, this has enabled remote working possible from having regular Zoom meetings down to monitoring work almost any time of the day. Make use of the technology available in supporting your employees’ mental health by including out of work activities that can help relieve stress and anxiety. For example, you can bring in a virtual therapist or HR can conduct a private session with employees to discuss how they feel and how are they adapting to the changes so far. Sharing mental health programs can be a part of your company’s regular activity to improve working conditions and support them by sharing useful information on how cope or to manage stress and other mental health issues they may be facing.   

 

⭐ Sharing information and communicating about mental health issues in the workplace can also minimize the stigma by creating a healthy, consistent, and open conversation.   

Encouraging an active lifestyle   

With social distancing practiced everywhere, we go; this certainly has affected many who are regular gym-goers to put a halt to their very active lifestyle. Studies have shown that living an active lifestyle has helped decrease various mental health issues, with that, said, you can encourage your employees to practice a safe active lifestyle while they are working remotely or if you have them on site. Companies who have implemented a fitness-friendly workplace have significantly decreased stress experienced by their employees and are working efficiently. Use this time to engage with your employees by conducting free yoga classes after work or create a program wherein your onsite and offsite employees can do 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity to get them moving and still promote a healthy and active lifestyle.   

⭐ Isolation can be very challenging hence promoting physical fitness can lead to a healthy mind which can help your employees big time.  

 

Showing a kind and emphatic leadership  

Despite the pandemic, the reality is “business as usual” but, you can take this time to have a different approach in managing your employees. We all know that hammering an employee will most likely result in poor performance, and certainly, times have changed as more and more are showing kind leadership. Motivate your team to be efficient in healthy ways, like giving incentives that allow them to take off the stress and pressure. Show empathy to your employees, get your HR and managers be involved in creating employee assistance programs that extend to help the immediate members of the family as well.   

⭐ Your employees are facing problems that most likely will end when this current health crisis will be resolved, showing extra help extending to their immediate families in any form is a good way of assuring them even after the pandemic, their well-being is your priority.  

  

Help combat isolation  

Isolation can be very challenging, and every person has a different take on being quarantined for some time. We, humans, are social beings, our society is built through communicating and working hard to achieve a common goal, hence isolation can be devastating for some. Your employees may hard it find to combat the stress of isolation, especially when they just shifted their safe space into a work environment. The best thing you can do is to encourage your employees to meet frequently on video conferences and stay connected with their co-workers. You can also start a motivation workweek and encourage them to stay positive through self-care ideas, guides on how to be productive while working at home, and more.   

 ⭐ Drop your workweek motivations via email or send a link through your company work chats. Surprise your employees with positive information they can use.  

  

Avoid remote burnout  

Employees working from home or remotely may still experience burnout. Studies have shown that workload usually increases when an employee is working remotely, which can cause burnout. You can resolve this kind of stress by implementing guidelines on work schedules and breaks. This can improve efficiency and you can help your employees manage their time, utilize their breaks, and adjust to their new work environment. Send these guidelines to your employees and align this to your company culture and make your employees comfortable and secure.   

 

⭐ Check on your employees from time to time and make sure they are taking their breaks to minimize burnouts especially those who are working on heavy projects.   

  

Prioritize benefits plan, healthcare, and financial health  

Every company must prioritize the overall well-being, which includes their benefits and financial health with or without a pandemic. Companies should have available resources to allot to their benefits plans, healthcare plans, and financial assistance to show that they can rely on you in these times of uncertainty. As the world is facing a health crisis, employees will more likely to have risen with other health issues due to stress, which means more visits to the doctor. This may increase a company’s healthcare costs but will keep your employee’s health take care of which is very good for organizations as they can emerge as a united and strong business after a pandemic, plus your employees will appreciate having jobs with best benefits.   

⭐ Financial security, having benefits plans, and healthcare secured in place will benefit both your company and employees’ long term, as this will mean that your company is ready to rise above any crisis.

 

 

Written by Ariane Negishi

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