With work from home becoming a norm due to Covid-19, many employees face challenges with their jobs, taking a toll on their mental health and personal lives. Some feel so overwhelmed by work that weekends become the new extension of weekdays. Many employees are fighting mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression.
Why is mental wellness in the workplace essential?
Supporting mental health in the workplace is no longer an option but a necessity. Employers would be remiss to underestimate the importance of discussing mental health at work. Poor mental health in the workplace can negatively affect businesses through increased absenteeism, reduced productivity and work performance, lower staff morale, and increased costs associated with managing the issue.
Therefore, employers should prioritize mental health in the workplace (wherever that may be – home or the office), especially during these challenging times. Below are some productive ways to support employees’ mental wellness.
Maintain Regular Contact
Don’t underestimate the value of an impromptu check-in. This helps quickly identify your feelings and potential stressors and adopt healthy behaviours when the going gets especially tough. Whether via phone, email or videoconferencing, you can still support your team and ensure that they know you care about their wellbeing. Employees must be clear on their work tasks and access accurate, reliable and up-to-date information. Personalize conversations rather than getting straight down to business. Being sincere and authentic is important.
Virtual Training & Mentoring
Many workplaces found it challenging to keep track of employee development in the hectic move from in-office to virtual work environments. Creating a mentoring programme improves employee mental health by ensuring that isolated employees have an avenue to communicate with mentors, discuss how they are adapting, and even help them discover solutions to work-related stress issues. This is particularly important in mentoring graduate students who may be entering the workforce for the first time.
Modify Policies & Practices
To reduce stress on everyone, be as generous and flexible as possible in updating policies and practices in reaction to the pandemic and civil unrest. For example, you may need to take a closer look at your rules and norms around flexible hours, paid time off, email and other communications, and paid and unpaid leave. Try to reframe performance reviews as opportunities for compassionate feedback and learning instead of evaluations against strict targets.
Investing in a corporate wellness program does not just benefit employees but also employers. By receiving proper mental health care, productivity increases, absenteeism decreases, and total medical costs decrease. Having a healthy workforce that shows up to work in a sound mind, ready to work benefits everyone.
Remind Your Employees To Take Breaks
Employees may be spending more time inside and sitting down, working from home in place. Remaining sedentary takes a toll on employee mental health as it increases the risk of depression and anxiety. And spending too long on the computer can cause eye strain. Remind your employees to take breaks, allowing them to stretch, encourage blood flow and clear their minds.
As many employees will continue to work remotely, it is now more important than ever to prioritize the mental wellbeing of your workplace. It’s crucial to find an efficient and easy way to communicate with your coworkers from a remote office, and remember to set boundaries between work life and home, as they often may seem blurry. To avoid isolation, it is also crucial for leaders to schedule regular one-on-one catch-ups with team members.
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