The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of stress not only on healthcare systems and economies but on workers’ mental health as well. As companies and employees alike start to adapt to the “new normal”, it may be difficult for some employees to cope. While companies do their best to keep data safe and secure despite working from home, the health and wellness of the employees should be prioritized just as much.
There are certain problems and issues that arise during this crisis, both for the frontline workers and those working remotely. In a survey done by mental health provider Ginger, nearly 7 in 10 employees indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic is the “most stressful time of their entire professional career.”
Employees’ emotional wellbeing has a big impact on the workforce and productivity. When workers experience stress, they are often less motivated and get easily distracted. In fact, 62% of those who reported stress also claim to lose 1 hour a day in productivity.
Signs to Watch For
According to a new research done by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), among the symptoms of depression the survey asked about include:
- Feeling like a failure
- Having little interest or taking pleasure in anything
- Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
- Trouble concentrating/li>
- Feeling tired or having little energy
- Feel burned out, drained, or exhausted from work
“As employers wrestle with business continuity planning during COVID-19, this research confirms that employers need to make mental health support a critical aspect of that plan or risk a dramatic impact on employee health and productivity.” according to Sally Welborn, former senior vice president of Walmart Stores’ global benefits.
How Can Employers Give Support?
Here are five things that employers can do support their employees during a pandemic, based on an SHRM Research:
- Utilize technology to offer mental health resources
Using technology to offer help such as licensed counselors on call, meditation platforms, and virtual education for employees to learn coping mechanisms and stress management can offer numerous resources for a collaborative discussion and maintain relationships despite the distance. These methods can provide numerous benefits for our mental health and overall emotional wellbeing.
- Prioritize helpful courses in your benefits plan
To help those employees who may be struggling with their mental health, employers can offer health coaching, constitution and well-being tips, online courses, and health challenges.
- Stay in touch
Sometimes, it may be as simple as staying in touch. By maintaining healthy relationships with your employees, you are communicating that mental health is a priority. There are a variety of ways employers can stay in contact with their employees. Always reach out, stay in touch, and check up on their situations through virtual conferences, daily email updates, or a messaging app or platform. Staying in touch also keeps employees stay focused.
- Offer emotional support
Employees are feeling a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. As Forbes says, “Leaders who show compassion and put employees’ well-being first during this time will see their workforce continue to be healthy and productive.”
Now that we know how COVID-19 can gravely impact the employees' mental health, the emphasis on prioritizing individual health and well-being is stronger more than ever. Having a caring and empathic work culture, as well as keeping mental health as a key focus, build a productive and collaborative workforce with a strong foundation.