Making Employee Mental Health a Priority during the COVID-19 Pandemic

employees concept

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s health in more ways than one. Some may also feel like time has become liquid—Monday is a Thursday, and there’s no way it’s already ten in the evening. Then, we also need to recognize that not all homes have a healthy environment. The most apparent effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the involuntary social isolation that people have been subjected to.

Due to social distancing, people are stuck in their homes to avoid contracting and/or spreading the virus. In flattening the curve, it’s harder for people to meet up with friends or visit family members. It brought distance learning to students and the prevalence of work-from-home for businesses.

Bringing work into the home creates another kind of problem when it comes to stress. A home is a place where a person can relax, be themselves, and feel safe. On the other hand, work is something incredibly stressful so much so that a person feels on the edge most of the time.

As a result, bringing work into the home crashes the feeling of having a sanctuary at home. If not managed well, it could meld these two worlds together. This hinders the person from making boundaries between their home life and her work life. When work does resume, and people are back in the office, there’s a constant worry of what the outside world may bring.

Worries About Work in COVID-19

In carrying out these changes and surviving the economy in the time of 2020, employers have a greater responsibility to take care of their employees. Not only are the physical health at risk just by going to the office, but their mental health is also on the line.

TalkOut, a mental health organization in the UK, conducted a survey and found that 68 percent of employees worry about returning to the workplace. 51 percent are concerned about their job’s future.

Unfortunately, TalkOut found that 56 percent of employees are yet to receive any attention from their employers about mental health. 85 percent report that, since the pandemic began, mental health has not been a priority for employers. There are more apprehensions about work in COVID-19.

How Employers Can Take Care of Employees’ Mental Well-being

With greater risk comes greater responsibility. Because of several apprehensions that employees experience, employers need to heighten their efforts in providing mental health care. It’s also imperative to check on them despite a work-from-home setup.

Employee Counseling

Counseling in the workplace is an HR tool that gives employees a safe space to air out their troubles. Through this, employees can seek support and empathy. This should be given by train specialists, as they know how to approach mental health issues. Counselors got their psychology education and degrees as well as training. The company can also send them to summer psychotherapy training classes to strengthen their workplace counseling program.

Online Modes

Online is not only useful to get work done in terms of normal everyday processes. It can also be used in keeping in touch with employees. The office can recreate water cooler conversations, conferences, or joking around during break times. They can use popular apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, and they can make different channels for different topics. There can be formal channels for work alone, and there can be channels for memes, gifs, jokes, etc. On top of this, they can do employee counseling via video calls.

Encourage Structure

team of corporate people

The thing about normal work is that there’s a schedule, and around that is a routine. In the new normal, some employers send tasks even at midnight. It breaks down every notion of a separation between the professional and the personal lives of the employee. Doing so makes them feel like they’re at work 24/7.

This can be avoided by scheduling work communication within business hours only. Beyond that should be allotted to the personal life of the employee. If the team is using an app for communication, there are features that turn off notifications right when business hours are over.

Taking Care of Employees is Taking Care of the Business

Today, with the shifting priorities of younger generations, the emphasis on well-being at work has become more significant in attracting talents. Taking care of employees’ mental health is crucial in the performance of the company.

When the workforce is stressed out, they will feel less productive, as they are unable to focus on their tasks. They will also be more susceptible to sickness since stress lowers the immune system. Therefore, by taking care of employees, a company is also taking care of the business.

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