Assisting Employee Mental Health
America’s mental health crisis has been on the rise in previous years, and coronavirus has made it even harder to improve mental wellness. Approximately half of American adults said they were experiencing negative mental health because of the pandemic. This includes feelings of stress, fear, depression, and anxiety, as well as loneliness and isolation from social distancing. Ultimately, these feelings are reflected in an employee’s job performance and work environment.
Employers now have the opportunity to reach out to their employees and support each other, building a relationship based on trust during the pandemic. For ideas on how to comfort employees and create a more supportive work environment during COVID- 19, follow these useful tips:
- Make mental health resources, tips, and support hotlines readily accessible to employees, such as the COVID-19 Emotional Support Resources Poster found below.
- Flexible work hours encourages employees to exercise, sleep properly, eat healthier, and connect with their loved ones. Motivate employees to take breaks during work hours to prevent fatigue and increase productivity.
- Connect with employees by asking about their well being and discussing useful coping mechanisms. If employees are working from home, schedule daily virtual check-ins to catch up. Opening up builds trust and mutual support.
- If an employee is depressed or showing emotional instability, assess the risk of suicide or harm, listen without judgement, provide
reassurance and information, and encourage professional or self-help.
- Show employees they are appreciated with thank you emails or weekly shout outs during staff meetings. Positive reinforcement boosts confidence, provides a sense of purpose, and builds community.
Being positive during this time may be difficult, but there is comfort in knowing that there is unity in shared experiences and emotions. Supporting each other’s mental health and wellness not only brings peace to struggling individuals, but also builds community and trust in the workplace.
Keeping the Team Together
Employers from various industries have implemented work from home initiatives to protect their employees from COVID-19. Although it has become routine to log in to virtual meetings, have daily phone calls, and ensure technological tools are up and running, there is still the obstacle of maintaining team spirit and virtual collaboration. In fact, working from home is likely to reduce motivation. Fortunately, there are many ways to reconnect your team and make employees feel motivated at work again.
- Switch up virtual meetings to include interactive activities that encourage participation, like an open brainstorming session, to allow employees to converse, give ideas, and become a team again.
- Have a weekly recap with the team about the week’s accomplishments, what can be improved, and future goals, giving employees the opportunity to reflect and strategize together.
- Schedule a weekly team building day, like Teamwork Tuesdays or Friday Game Day, to play games that motivate communication and relieve stress. For example, everyone can play games like Office Trivia, where trivia questions on various topics are asked and answered by email.
- Have a virtual hangout outside of work hours. Schedule a monthly video call with employees for cocktail hour, game night, or a birthday celebration to create community among employees. No work talk allowed!
- Start meetings with a quick icebreaker by asking your team questions about anything, like their favorite food or favorite movie villain.
- relieve stress while bonding as a team with virtual activities, like yoga or meditation periods with a coach or free online videos.
- Dedicate some time before work for a virtual coffee hangout or have lunch together during your break to promote social interaction.
These are only some of many ways employers can rekindle team spirit among them and employees when working from home. Find the activities that best work for your team or create your own. These initiatives will leave a lasting bond among employees, even after coronavirus.