COVID, protests, and the general craziness of 2020 are turning the business world upside down. With all of the chaos and resulting business impacts, it’s easy to lose sight of the impacts of that chaos on employee mental health and well-being.
This is particularly true with roughly two-thirds of employees working from home due to COVID-19 concerns. What are some resources employers can provide to staff who might be having a tough time mentally or emotionally in the current climate?
One of the easiest ways for employers to help their staff is simply to regularly check in on how they’re doing. This should include regular meetings with managers and supervisors for general work-related items.
These meetings, both group and one-on-one, should include basic questions about how things are going and if there are any concerns. Periodic check-ins from other layers of manager or Human Resources staff can also help identify potential issues, particularly with remote staff.
Many employers offer internal resources to staff through tools like EAPs. “An Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, is a great option for employers who want to address mental health in the workplace,” notes an article for Justworks. “EAPs generally offer a wide range of services—help with everything from finding childcare to legal assistance to negotiating medical bills. In addition to these valuable services, many top EAPs offer mental health benefits as well.
“For instance, Health Advocate offers a number of helpful services to members with mental health needs, including:
- In-person, telephonic, and video counseling
- Licensed Professional Counselors who address stress, depression, family issues, substance abuse, and more
- Referrals for long-term counseling or specialized care.”
Even when assured of privacy and anonymity, many staff may be hesitant to discuss mental health concerns with employers for fear of workplace stigma or negative impacts on their employment. Companies can also provide staff with contact information for external resources they can access independent of their employer.
While 2020 has already proven to be a chaotic year for business, it’s been chaotic for the individuals who make up that business, as well. Many employees are anxious about their health and their job security, as well as the health and security of family members.
For those with children, additional childcare burdens can add to that stress. And the imposition of remote work on a large swath of the workplace means it can be very difficult for employers to know how their employees are doing without proactively reaching out.
Ensuring proper mental health resources are available to employees during these times can make a huge difference for staff.