Supporting Your Employees Through COVID-19
To say these are uncertain times is an understatement. COVID-19 has our nation on edge and your employee’s well-being and safety is your top priority. Many employees are teleworking for the first time, isolated from co-workers, friends and family. Disruption of their daily routine can cause anxiety and stress – physically, mentally, and financially. It is imperative that business owners and managers step back, remain calm, and show support for their employees.
Now more than ever it is important to address mental health and well-being. Here are some tips for managers and human resource professionals to incorporate in support of employees in their new workplace.
Tips for Managers and Human Resource Professionals
- Stay informed. Communicate the latest recommendations to your employees.
- CDC has strategies for employees to prevent exposure and what employers can do to assist
- CDC COVID-19 Guidance and Business Response
- Show empathy and be available. Employees are going to feel overwhelmed and anxious, not only about the virus but the new work conditions they may be experiencing. Make sure you are available to answer questions and reassure them about their fears.
- Make communication a priority. Virtual meeting options allow for regular check-ins and provide a “face-to-face” connection employees may need.
- Recognize the impact of social isolation. Suddenly having to work remotely may be isolating to some employees making the need to check in more important. Not only to check in about their work but also how they are doing.
- Encourage employees to limit media consumption. Continuous exposure to news and social media may increase anxiety and stress. Employees should stay informed by following a few authoritative resources.
- Assist employees in setting boundaries on work schedule. It can be tempting to work more when working from home, however that can take a toll on employee’s health and well-being. Communicate with employees what work hours are expected.
- Engage in activities that benefit your well-being. Encourage employees to participate in joyful activities that may distract them from other stressors. This might include meditation, yoga, walking, journaling, reading, or cooking. Never underestimate the power of a short breathing exercise to reduce stress and bring immediate calmness.
- Check in with your EAP and health plan. Your Employee Assistance Program may offer support for employees for this exact type of stressful situation. Coordinate and communicate with employees this support system is available if needed. Health plans may also offer support to plan members. Be sure to communicate all relevant links and contact information for the EAP and health plan to employees.
Stay Calm and Remain Strong
How you respond to your employees fears and anxiety can make a world of difference in their life during these uncertain times. Remember to slow down, remain calm and show support for your employees. This will only make your company and your community stronger.
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