What organisations can do for employee mental health amidst Covid-19 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 03, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 03, 2020

What organisations can do for employee mental health amidst Covid-19

If there was ever a more pressing time to focus on employee health, it is now. Fear, anxiety, and burnouts are common right now and anyone from the lower to the top-level employees can be going through these. Sadly, in such turbulent times where organizations themselves are struggling, the mental health of the employees is often disregarded altogether.

Minimizing remote burnout

The virtual and agile modality that current workplaces have adopted has led many managers to harbour the notion that employees can now work whenever it's needed and on whatever is required. An employee may be going through a lot in these difficult times and it is not always apparent, especially when face-to-face meetups are obsolete. That is why workplaces should specify working hours and create certain work-from-home guidelines. Avoid meetings late into the night and calls at odd hours. It is important to remember that not everyone has the same body clock. So instead of assigning work according to the manager's personal operating times, it's important to adhere to specific working hours throughout the organization. Scheduled breaks should be ensured and flexitime should be used so that employees aren't burned out.

Encouragement and empathy

The organization should actively encourage employees to prioritize their mental health. Employees should be encouraged to meet on video whenever possible. This will not only make them feel connected to their co-workers but will also help to deal with feelings of isolation. Managers should display empathy, now more than ever. Stay updated on how everything is for the employees at home. If someone is visibly distressed, they should be entitled to a break. A few inspiring words at the start of the day or week can go a long way. Every once in a while, fun and themed virtual meetups can be organized so that employees can de-stress. There is nothing that promotes a sense of belonging more among employees over acts that show that the workplace cares.

Ensuring access to resources

Necessary resources and support can be crucial in these times to help employees maintain a sound work-life balance while social distancing. If organizations already have Employee Assistant Programs (EAP) then now is a crucial time to leverage them to ensure employee wellness while strictly maintaining confidentiality. HR can ask employees to keep stress logs and engage in interactive sessions, which can be therapeutic. Organizations should keep a database of guidelines to follow during the pandemic and important contacts of plasma donors, hospitals, doctors, and telemedicine which employees can access at any time.  

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