How Employers Can Check-In On Employees' Mental Health During a Pandemic?

Whether you are aware of it or not, it is highly likely that someone in your workplace is dealing with a mental health issue.

The ongoing COVID19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Daily we get to know about the increase in cases and deaths all over the world, loss of jobs, and an unstable economy.

It has led to a worrying uncertainty about our health and the future. It has put a significant amount of strain on our mental health and cause stress and anxiety.

As a leader and a responsible employer, your concern about your employees' wellbeing will define your leadership qualities. You have the responsibility to check-in on your employees' mental health and provide them with the necessary help and resources so that they do not suffer in silence. Talking to employees about mental health will make them feel good.

Here are some ways an employer can support the employees.

Break the stigma around mental health at the workplace

Your employees might remain silent and hide their mental health struggles.

It is because of their fear of being viewed as less than capable individuals. Their colleagues might consider them to be weak. How can they fulfill their duties with an ongoing struggle in their personal life?

You will have to challenge these assumptions. Create an open line of honest communication among the managers, employees, and senior leaders. Everyone should be able to talk about their mental health, stress, and self-care.

Did you know that people are more comfortable discussing conditions such as cancer and diabetes at their workplace than mental health issues?

By bringing down the walls, your employees will feel comfortable talking about their issues. Erasing the stigma will directly translate to a smoother workflow and better performance.

Recognize the signs and symptoms

If you are aware of a team member who has shown a significant change in behavior and attitude, then it is best to talk and show your concern.

If your employee is struggling, then recognize the signs and symptoms.

  • Behavior, attitude, or appearance is no longer usual
  • Avoiding to participate in groups, meetings, get-togethers, or even a simple conversation with colleagues
  • Avoiding video calls
  • Consistently late for meetings and meeting deadlines
  • Distracted, forgetful and feel hopeless all the time

By supporting employees with mental health issues, you can boost their morale and have a positive impact.

Create a culture of openness

It is usually difficult for anyone to open up about their mental health struggles and more so at their workplace. They might fear repercussions. You, as an employer, must encourage such conversations.

Listen to them when they share their feelings. Get actively involved in their conversations rather than trying to solve their problem.

Mental health issues are different for different people. So, ask them how you can help and support them in these times of crisis.

Availability of mental health resources

You can use an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help your employees connect with experienced professionals who can help them with their struggle.

You can conduct mental health awareness training for employees. You can send them regular reminders regarding the availability of resources and a support system.

Minimize loneliness

During this pandemic, the entire world has adopted a work from home culture. While it has a lot of benefits, there are times when it might get overwhelming. The lack of physical contact and face to face conversations is affecting a large number of people.

It is crucial to minimize loneliness and isolation that some may feel due to work from home, especially for those who live alone.

It is useful to create communities and communication tools that allow the employees to stay in contact, socialize, connect, share their thoughts and feelings, and participate happily in virtual interactions.

Encourage work-life balance

Stress is undeniably one of the main contributors to a mental health problem.

Unreasonable expectations at work can disrupt the work-life balance and cause significant distress.

With the rise of working from home culture, the line between work and home is getting thinner as the employees are unable to set clear boundaries between their work and personal time.

Promoting a rich work-life balance will ensure their happiness and stress-free life. It will allow them to perform better without compromising on their mental wellbeing.

The current situation, no matter how unfortunate, has presented you with an opportunity to step back, take a breath, and talk about what is going on with your team. Provide your employees with a great work environment. It will benefit you and your company with increased growth and productivity.

The employee mental health struggle is a common experience at workplaces, so the more you normalize it, the better.

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