The unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with an increased understanding of the prevalence of mental health conditions, are causing companies to better support their employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
And it isn’t just about individuals; there’s a growing realization that workplace culture drives wellbeing, too.
Here are five strategies to help your organization create a more supportive, mental health-friendly work environment.
1. Provide accessible mental health resources
Whether it’s in the form of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a referral to external organizations that can provide crisis intervention, counseling, or other assistance, employees in need should have mental health resources made available to them. If you have an EAP in place, ensure that it is readily accessible and heavily promoted within the organization. Share information about the steps being taken to support and protect the mental health of all employees. Telehealth can also be an important part of an effective strategy for facilitating care to employees. For many situations, it offers an efficient alternative to in-person rehabilitation, addiction, and counseling appointments.
2. Communicate clearly and frequently
It’s is important for employees to know what to expect as they return to the workplace. It can remove some of the uncertainty and reassures workers that you have their best interest in mind. Staff members will be anxious to hear about response plans, from social distancing to mask policies, as well as details about scheduling and financial stability. When sharing public health and safety information with employees, it should come from credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), OSHA, state health and workplace health offices/ departments, and reputable medical organizations and journals.
3. Provide comprehensive training for those in managerial positions
Supervisors and managers can play a valuable role in communicating with employees, providing stability, and recognizing possible signs of distress. In the wake of the pandemic, for instance, some workers may have a challenging time readjusting to the workplace. It’s crucial that managers are trained to recognize potential employee distress and to know when and how to intervene. They can also be instrumental in creating a welcoming environment for those who are returning in a modified role or may have recovered from COVID-19 and fear being ostracized.
4. Incorporate flexible work arrangements when possible
Supporting work-life balance through flexible and remote-working policies—which will be expected in the post-COVID-19 landscape—will allow team members to feel more in control of their time and better able to manage their responsibilities during reintegration. These arrangements can greatly reduce stress for those who are dealing with personal and family issues, such as school closures, childcare issues, or caring for loved ones. Companies may also need to reconsider their policies for paid time off, sick leave, leaves of absence, disability, and bereavement, based on unique situations their employees are facing.
5. Strive to remove the stigma
Acknowledging the existence and gravity of the problem is vital for a successful mental wellness campaign, so routinely include mental health policies and stress management tips in staff and company meetings. Speak openly against workplace harassment and cyberbullying, which can encourage isolation, anxiety, and depression. It’s also important to promote sensitivity toward those with mental health issues and to create formal channels where employees can report workplace abuses without fear of retaliation.
Employee mental and emotional wellbeing should be viewed as valuable assets for any organization. By adopting thoughtful approaches like these, businesses can help workers mitigate stress and develop psychological resilience.
Is your organization ready to implement a more mental health-friendly work environment? The HR Team can help! Please reach out to our caring team of skilled professionals to get connected to the appropriate qualified resources.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.