Paulette McCormack, Founder and Owner of Fresh HR Insights has created this article as part of our Locimo Experts series tailored for business owners.
From the moment we wake up in the morning, our mental health and wellbeing become the heart of anything we do. Taking care of our health is essential in daily life and fundamental when facing personal challenges, work issues, or a global pandemic like Covid-19.
In your workplace, too, you are getting your heads around managing an array of sudden changes and stressors. Whether it is furloughing employees, arranging work from home for staff, or navigating the complex web of video calls and its software.
Here are some key tips to help in transitioning to the new way of working while helping your employees manage their mental health and wellbeing:
4 Tips to Help Employees' Mental Health & Wellbeing
Gauge Employee Feelings with Clear Communication
Simply asking your new and existing employees about how they feel at this time can help. Before framing any new work plan for the future, ask them if they prefer working at home (if this is applicable) or coming to the office or store earlier.
· Is their childcare arrangement present and in safe hands?
· Are they or their loved one been afflicted by Covid-19?
· What measures would they like to see if they start coming to the workplace earlier?
· If they prefer to work from home, is there any help you can extend to make them more productive?
Have an Official Employee Wellbeing Plan
Many companies have formulated an employee wellbeing plan. It is a simple plan of action and a bunch of tools that help employees understand what wellbeing means for them. Make them aware of poor mental health symptoms and behavioral triggers in themselves, a loved one or a colleague.
Are there any protective steps to help them improve their mental health, such as meditation, physical exercise, or simply getting more sleep?
Train First- & Second-Line Managers
It is essential for first- and second-line managers to be observant and sensitive to look out for any poor mental health symptoms. Train them to have a conversation with any staff with those symptoms and suggest support programs that can help them.
Supporting these managers is crucial as they are also struggling with a new routine and a completely remote team. They would likely be having concerns of their own.
Boosting their confidence and ability to lead and manage in these times will help you strengthen your team. Staying together at these critical times will forge a strong sense of identity and belongingness in your new and existing employees.
Encourage leave and regular time off from work
In many organisations where employees were furloughed, workloads increased for the remaining staff. The majority of them are working longer hours than before. Also, with reduced traveling and flights stalled, no one is taking any leave or going on any holidays.
Ensure that your employees take leave to allow them to rest, recuperate, and refresh themselves from the new work from home routine.
Helping Your New & Existing Employees' Mental Health
The spread of the pandemic globally has affected all our lives, and it is natural that employees too will be anxious and stressed. Your employees are worried about catching the virus themselves and apprehensive about their financial future at the same time. They are contending with all this while cut off from their usual support networks and routine activities.
Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
Unfortunately, a one-stop-shop solution doesn’t exist to help tackle mental health issues.
Making a long term commitment to the health and wellbeing of your employees in this new normal will greatly help in making a genuine difference. Just taking care of them, providing them a safe platform to communicate with each other and being there to listen when they talk can be a huge support.
In this time of the new normal, these are a few simple steps that can help you support your employees and make sure that your business grows in the process.
Paulette McCormack is the Founder and Owner of Fresh HR Insights. Paulette is a professional Human Resource Specialist with well over a decade of experience both nationally and internationally. Find out more about the work Paulette and Fresh HR Insights do here.