Since the start of this pandemic crisis, our working lives have changed a lot leading us to more flexible schedules, changing working hours, telecommuting, video conferences and digital transactions…but those massive changes in our professional and personal lives, the uncertainty and new challenges that have come with the crisis have led a lot of people to mental issues; involving break downs, boredom, burnout feelings, depression, anxiety ….
So, what should we do to preserve our energy and mental health in those critical times?
How can we be positive, motivated while performing our tasks every day?
Here are some tips each employer should follow to protect his staff mental health and make sure they are working in the best available conditions.
1.Share reputable sources and follow official advices shared by international health organization.
Beside preparing you own communicational supports for your internal and digital channels (website, applications, blog, social media) you need definitely to keep following the international health organizations like:
Public health wales
WHO: world health organization
Advice your employees to not share too much information about the virus and ask them only to follow the trusted and reputable sources as there is a lot of fake news that happens to be shared and amplified during this period.
2.Everyone is concerned about mental health, so consider its impact on your staff.
Every human being has mental health and no matter what are our circumstances, this crisis is going to impact the way we feel and think about ourselves, our companies and the world we live in.
A motivating and valuable work is a necessity for our balance and mental health, and we should preserve the chance to enjoy our work’s benefit when and where ever we can.
Some of us have a mind of steel but others face a huge risk related to their poor mental health.
So as a director or a manager before planning a speech, email or any other communicational support be it internal or external, consider how this step is going to affect your staff according to their:
Personal characteristics: age, sex, race, background, sexual orientation, disability …)
Other challenges: how people from certain ethnicity like Italian, Hindi or Asian backgrounds may be facing some discriminatory behavior…)
Then adjust accordingly.
Put yourself in their shoes! and act in a way that protect both physical and mental health of your employees, starting from those who are at the greatest need.
Believe that by acting so and by being supportive, helpful and close to your staff you will be able to surpass the crisis with the least damage.
3.Talk to your staff.
Try to keep in touch with your employees regularly or on a daily basis!
Communicate with your executives, manager and supervisors, by encouraging them, giving them financial, technical and psychological assistance and support.
Be straightforward and honest by acknowledging the stress and uncertainty of the situation, but mostly accept the fact that you may not know what will be your future steps and therefore you will come back to people with more answers and a clear strategy.
Being near, assisting your people, hearing them and offering alternative solution will help your staff whether they work at office or from home.
Just make sure alongside your daily and regular communication with your staff; you also communicate and guide your front-line managers.
4.Promote access to support.
Think of providing a global access to support services through your workplace and make sure all these means are well advertised, then check if there are specific resources related to the outbreak and keep your staff updated.
You have also to make sure all your employees know where they need to go or who they should internally contact if they need it.
If you have a mental health expert, ally or first aid assigned to your company, make sure to keep them informed, give them the necessary tools to speak and communicate with your employees, empower them and let them spread advices, working tips and positive coaching.
Whenever you decide to change your working practices make sure that your mental health support service will carry on.
5.Remember vulnerability has many faces.
During the crisis a lot of people may face physical vulnerabilities, but managers and team leader can feel vulnerable too in terms of demonstrating leadership and guidance in uncertain times!
So, you need to help your staff stay composed and strong by telling them how good is the job they are accomplishing and by recognizing their efforts.
The pandemic time may be particularly tough for people who already faced mental health issues! and working from home will bring them back bad memories, making them more vulnerable to depression and trauma.
That ‘s why the employer and leader need to go the extra mile to better know their workers, their past and personal issues …you need to identify your weakest staff members and keep tracking their behavior changes to give support when needed.
Treat each disclosure with respect and a lot of empathy and compassion and make adjustments.
6.Encourage personal and self-care.
Help your people by giving them advices and solutions telling them how they should plan their self-isolation program, or quarantine days if they need it.
Create a daily advising program/service and encourage people to discuss their plans with their assigned managers’ your staff are already working from home, keep in touch with them and don’t forget to send your support.
7.See opportunities for development and growth alongside crisis planning.
You need to consider whether there are tasks that can still be managed if the regular business is disrupted: staff development, planning, or catching up on admin tasks are things that can be done to improve your readiness to carry on with your business later on.
You can also connect your staff to community support services, local food banks and volunteering opportunities.
8.Use technology for work and socialization.
Offer assistance for those who are not used to remote work and provide them with the need equipment and support, so that they will be able to keep in touch with each other even virtually. Advice your employee to maintain informal conversations, use intranet like slack or MS teams or trello to communicate with them but also to manage work.
Try video calls, coffee chats or even virtual birthday celebration, fixe also a weekly check in appointment to make sure everything is going right.