Managing Employee Health and Wellness During the Pandemic

Managing Employee Health and Wellness During the Pandemic

2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety for employees around the world. As we begin to step out of the pandemic’s shadow, employers have become more sensitive to employee health and well-being. 

Not only does poor physical and mental health negatively affect job performance, but it also contributes to struggles like burnout, feelings of isolation, or constant worrying. Encourage health and well-being in your employees by keeping the following in mind:

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Maintain Good Communication

You can help your employees defeat feelings of isolation by establishing several communication channels between employer and employees, between departments, and between individuals. Check in with your employees regularly, and encourage them to do the same for one another. 

Some workplace environments frown on conversations related to mental health, but the real problems emerge when we can’t talk about how we’re feeling. Try to develop an open environment where your employees and even you feel comfortable discussing the emotional aspects of work and life. 

We’re not encouraging you to host a week-long meditation or even get overly personal. Simply let it be known that your workplace won’t shun or shame employees for struggling with mental health. Sometimes, all it takes for someone to feel better is to say aloud, “this sucks,” and get the simple affirming response of “yes, it does.”

Support Your Remote Workers

Although some Canadians have returned to the office, many job positions have converted into full-time remote positions. Remote workers tend to enjoy more flexibility, but they are also vulnerable to adverse effects. 

Since the pandemic began, remote workers have noticed a collapse of the boundary between work life and home life, causing added stress and other mental health concerns. Remote employees work where they live, have children who were, or still studying from home, and dealing with the isolation around Covid 19 as well.  Keep the following in mind to help your employees find better balance:

Encourage Self-Care

Provide Encouragement, Gratitude and Feedback

Help with Home-Office Equipment

Model Good Health and Well-Being

Employees look to you as the senior leader in the company, so it’s essential to talk about wellness and model self-care. Open communication will help you demonstrate self-care. Actions like using vacation days, exercising in the company gym, or even eating well-balanced lunches show your team that you’re committed to your well-being.

Give your employees tips, and share resources like this excellent blog post by Insurdinary about getting back to life after COVID-19. It discusses the importance of getting enough sleep, staying physically active, and other important self-care methods.

Train Supervisors in Mental Well-Being

Some of us have personal or professional experience promoting good mental health, but many do not. You can host mental health training to teach your supervisors how to support your employees’ mental well-being. 

Good training helps your supervisory staff understand how to recognize and address employee issues like stress, anxiety, and burnout. You and your management team will also learn how to model mental wellness and resilience. Remember that your supervisors need support, too, and you can help encourage mental well-being in one another.

Continually Assess Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a good work-life balance is essential for employee health and well-being. Helping employees maintain a healthy balance requires regular monitoring, but employers sometimes assume they already know what an employee needs instead of asking. 

Conduct anonymous pulse surveys to check in on how employees feel and where they need more support. Pay attention to staff members who seem overworked, as this is one of the main risk factors for burnout.

End Every Day with a Bookend

Consider Well-Being in Reviews

As an employer, you probably conduct regular performance reviews. Instead of dedicating the entire process to providing employee feedback, use this time to assess employee mental health. Ask your workers how they’re feeling and what you can do to help.

You want your employees to feel valued and heard, and reviews offer the perfect opportunity to have open and honest conversations. The simple act of asking an employee how they’re feeling shows them you consider them a valuable part of the business. 

If your current process includes only annual reviews, consider increasing review frequency or incorporating less formal check-ins. A lot happens within a year, and your employees may benefit more from quarterly or monthly conversations.

Offer Health Promotion Programs

A 2020 study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence surveyed people from around the world and found that 76% of workers believe their companies need to do more to protect mental health. 

You can promote a healthy workplace by offering health promotion programs for physical and mental health. This may be as simple as hosting professionals for guided exercises during lunch breaks or might involve incorporating a staff of counselors and psychologists. You may even provide subscriptions to meditation apps or other digital resources.

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