COVID-19 has had a massive impact on workers’ mental health, from being asked not to have separate living and work areas to experiencing lockdown and inability to leave the home.
Some employees face greater challenges, e.g. B. caring for a high-risk family member or taking responsibility for their children’s education. One in four caregivers find it difficult to take care of their own health, and 23% say caregiving has made their own health worse, according to the AARP 2020 report on Nursing.
In 2021, companies have a responsibility to address the stressors of today’s environment and allocate mental health resources to support their employees.
With the right support, professionals can not only improve their roles, but also be more thoughtful and empathetic with clients who are undoubtedly experiencing their own pandemic-related challenges.
Internal communications managers should continue to raise the issue of mental health in the workplace by using corporate platforms to bring employees closer together in a remote setting.
The best way to support your employees is to focus on three key areas.
1. Provision of specific resources for the mental health of workers
Bring a sense of mindfulness to the virtual office. Invest in materials, systems, and services that your employees can use to decompress.
For example, Starbucks offers 20 free counseling sessions per year to employees and their family members, and Fidelity has introduced special benefits for working parents, including childcare reimbursement and improved access to childcare coordinators to provide additional and much-needed resources for work secure parents.
Many U.S. employees have taken on more roles in their own households, including caregivers, teachers, and full-time chefs. By providing employees with the tools they need to help with increased workloads, you can avoid burnout and get more involved in the virtual workplace.
2. Invest in workplace mental health training
According to a 2020 survey by Vyond, nearly half (45%) of employees crave mental health training in the workplace. This is likely to remain a problem for businesses as many continue to work from home and feel isolated.
To help employees continue to adapt to the challenges of the virtual world of work, internal communications leaders should work closely with their company’s human resource and talent development groups to provide consistent, quality-focused content that can help employees put advice into practice.
Training sessions can provide practical examples and scenarios that show employees how to reduce and manage work-related stress and help managers guide their teams through this challenging time.
Video can be a powerful training tool as it provides a visual concept for an abstract thought or idea. Using video animation technology, Vyond Marketing created a cross-functional video course on remote team mental health management to promote healthy practices and support employee mental health in an engaging format.
3. Prioritize ongoing communication
Employees not only receive resources and training, but can also benefit from continuous, well-thought-out communication between managers.
Managers who are open to their personal experiences and who recognize that they too will be challenged by remote work – even months after the pandemic – can provide urgently needed support to employees. Executives sharing how to implement wellness routines or how to more specifically unplug after work have the opportunity to significantly improve work ethic.
When people feel inspired, motivated, and supported in their roles, they do more work, and that work is reportedly less stressful to their overall health and wellbeing, according to a survey by Gallup. The survey also reports that unclear communication from managers is one of the top five factors correlating with employee burnout.
Executives can send weekly or monthly company updates, host an internal website with a selection of employee resources, and even provide a feedback platform where employees can share their own suggestions for improving the employee experience. Providing an opportunity for feedback builds trust and sends the message that good ideas can come from anyone at any level.
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Mental health and wellbeing should be a priority in internal communications as we continue to navigate the pandemic. Opening up the conversation and communicating with empathy can provide an opportunity not only to improve morale and productivity, but also to provide the sense of connection we need to get through.
More resources on mental health in the workplace
Five Psychological Threats To Business (And How To Deal With Them) [Infographic]
How to resolve conflicts with your business partners by developing win-win agreements
How to Build a Great Marketing Team: A Seven Step People Strategy