There's a lot of uncertainty and fear going around right now, especially in the workplace. The coronavirus has radically changed our world, and it's not going away any time soon. We're all in this together, so it's important that you as an employer find ways to keep your workers feeling safe and relaxed so they can stay productive and comfortable. After all, we're all in this together, employer and employee alike. So how can you promote mental health in your workplace during an unprecedented period like right now? It's a tough question without a lot of concrete answers, but we're here to help. Here are some tips on how you can reduce stress among your workers and promote mental health and well-being.
Be Open And Communicate
Not only are these risky times, but they're also very uncertain. A lot of people aren't sure what's going to happen even a couple of weeks down the road, let alone a few months. Being open and honest with your employees can go a long way towards reducing that uncertainty and keeping them from getting too anxious. Your workers may be nervous about coming back to work, or afraid that their job might be cut due to the economic issues that a lot of businesses are having right now. Let them know that you understand their fears, and share what you're doing to make sure you can stay afloat. Even if there's a possibility that you might go under, letting your employees know early so they can plan for it is better than springing it on them when it happens. You can also share information about the coronavirus through company correspondence, so everyone knows how to avoid it and stay safe. There's a lot of misinformation out there right now, so make sure that you're getting facts from official sources and not blogs or opinion pieces. Check the CDC, WHO, and any local departments of health to get tips or info related to COVID-19 that you can share with your team.
Allow Working From Home
The biggest fear that most workers have right now is the possibility of catching the coronavirus at the workplace and getting sick or passing it on to their friends and family. If your business has any kind of work that can be done remotely, letting your employees do it from the safety of their own homes is a great way to make sure everyone stays as safe and protected as possible. The CDC, WHO, and pretty much every other reputable health organization recommends staying home as the best way to avoid catching COVID-19, so letting your employees work remotely is a great idea to keep everyone safe. Not only does it allow your workers to stay away from places where they might catch the virus, but it also makes the office safer for the people who do have to work there. The fewer people together at once, the safer everyone is going to be, so the only people in your office should be the ones who absolutely have to be there. If your employees know that you have their safety and the safety of their loved ones in mind, it'll go a long way towards making sure they're at ease.
Stay Connected, Even Online
Working from home is a great way to keep your employees safe and secure during a pandemic. However, it does come with its own challenges, particularly with regard to mental health. Social isolation is a big issue for people working remotely during the coronavirus, and it can lead to depression and anxiety. People need to interact with other people, and missing out on regular water cooler conversations can be hard on mental health. Try to keep in touch with your employees daily if you can, not just to pass on information and job assignments, but also to check in and see how they're doing. You can also host virtual get-togethers for the whole office, so your workers can chat and hang out over Zoom or other online video call services. Birthdays are a great excuse to get everyone together, even if it's only virtually, so keep your party schedule going! You can also try setting up quiz nights or other games that can be played virtually. Downtime and social interaction is an important part of a positive work environment, and that's doubly true during a pandemic like this.
Offer Support Systems
Many employers offer access to support services like free mental health counseling, so it's important to make sure that you're encouraging your employees to take advantage of these services. Make a point of advertising them when you're keeping in touch with your workers, and ensure that they all know they can use them when they need to. If you don't have any internal mental health services, collect external resources for mental health, and make sure your employees know what they are. Encourage them to call any mental health hotlines if they're struggling. A lot of people are having financial troubles right now, so if you can afford it, offer to foot the bill for services that you suggest. You can also send along tips for how your workers can help their own mental health, like making time to relax, keeping in touch with friends, and doing breathing or mindfulness exercises. This information can sometimes be hard to find independently, so collecting it all together and sharing it can be a nice way to help your employees out.
Get Outside Help
If your employees are struggling and you don't have the resources to offer them support, don't be afraid to get help elsewhere. If you look at how a conference speaker can help, you might be surprised at how useful it can be. Bringing in outside experts is always a great idea in general, and particularly so when it comes to mental health. A speaker might also run virtual team building or moral exercises, which can go a long way towards improving the mental health of your workers.
Whatever you end up doing, make sure that you keep in touch and check in on how your workers are holding up. This is a hard time for business owners all over the country, but it can be even more stressful for your employees. A little concern can go a long way, so be sure to keep mental health in mind when you're making decisions.