Everyone is trying to embrace the “new normal” of remote working. But navigating work changes during the pandemic still requires empathy, diversity, and inclusion. Today, HR teams are challenged in unprecedented ways to find solutions to increasing problems. And if you ask yourself how many of your employees are chronically stressed out, battling anxiety, or possibly depressed—the answers aren’t easy to pinpoint. It’s not always obvious when people are dealing with a mental health issue. Moreover, people are reluctant to discuss these matters at work.
However, it is essential to focus more on workplace wellness, even though it might require more effort in times of crisis. So, how can you promote a culture where employees can feel happy and motivated?
This article explores some of the essentials that a mental health kit should contain.
The Mental Health Kit
Studies have shown that more than 56% of employees haven’t received any mental health support or training from their managers since the beginning of the pandemic. However, it is not uncommon for employees to experience a high level of stress regarding the spread of the virus, along with uncertainty about their job performance and financial stability. There’s also added stress due to disruptions in daily life and a feeling of isolation while working remotely.
The following actions, tools, and resources can improve your teams’ resiliency and well-being and can be part of your mental health kit:
- Recognizing key stressors
- Improving communication
- Offering wellness programs
- Providing extra sick days
- Learning more
Recognizing key stressors
Before making any decisions, you need to recognize the key stressors your employees are facing. One of the most common stressors is the financial component. Studies show that employees with a satisfying salary report having better mental health than those with lower incomes. Nevertheless, your team may be anxious about the virus, or what the future holds.
Another stressor is the new work environment—the home—where people might struggle with the work-life balance. These concerns might have a great impact on the employees’ mental health, so it’s important to pinpoint them accurately.
Improving communication with your teams
Regular communication improves the team’s general morale and can build resilience, a driver of productivity, engagement, and ultimately, wellness. The most resilient employees are twice as likely to be more productive. However, during this unprecedented time, you’ll need patience and flexibility, as you might need to review the ways you support your team and make improvements.
Create a safe space for your employees to talk openly and share useful information and resources tackling mental health.
Offering wellness programs
Wellness programs, such as massage sessions, meditation classes, or various physical activity classes (yoga, Pilates, dance) are greatly appreciated by employees in general, but they are even more welcomed during stressful times.
These initiatives will help your employees stay physically and mentally fit and healthy through the pandemic, so don’t hesitate to offer relaxation programs. If you already have them in place, encourage your teams to use the available services and ask if they need additional support. Listen to their feedback and adjust work benefits and incentives accordingly.
Providing sick days for mental health
Have you ever thought about offering sick days for mental health? It is an uncommon practice but one that many recognize as essential, as it can help your employees regain energy and feel better when returning to work. Encouraging employees to take a mental health day off could have great benefits in terms of preventative health. Allowing them to take a break to recharge will help avoid more serious problems in the long run.
If you can’t provide sick days for mental health, ensure you offer your employees access to stress management programs, counseling sessions, financial counseling, and critical incident specialists.
Learning how to talk more about mental health
There are a lot of opportunities to incorporate mental health discussions into your team’s workday. But first, ensure that the tools and resources you provide are relevant and up-to-date. Your employees should have easy access to any content that might help them.
Focus on creating a genuinely supportive work environment so that your employees could build a healthy culture. Because when your employees thrive, so does your company. So, whether you’re continuing to work remotely or returning to the office, ensure that their job isn’t adding more stress to the already shaken situation.
Never stop learning. It is your responsibility to ensure that your teams are safe and healthy.