Employee wellbeing and mental health
8 Oct 2021
Mental health has been ushered to the limelight by the COVID pandemic, and understandably so. The upsurge of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, stress, burn out etc, during the pandemic made smart employers reconsider their human resource strategies and workplace culture, to help their employees.
During the heat of the COVID pandemic, employees reportedly experienced higher rates of mental health issues, and were not getting the needed help from their HR departments. On the whole, the pandemic revealed to organisations worldwide, the value of mental health and employee wellbeing and the need to prioritize it.
Since then, human resource experts and other proactive corporate leaders have stepped up in response to the changes, and you and your organisation or business should too. Here is what HR leaders and other industry experts have to say about employee wellbeing and mental health and how to step up as an employer:
One expert, Jo Deal (HR, LogMeIn, a computer software company), recommends surveying your employees, as this helps you gauge their feelings about the work environment, their engagement levels and concerns around productivity, burn out, stressors, and other factors relating to their mental health. It can also be a safe channel for employees to share concerns that they may never get to share otherwise.
Evaluate and add resources:
Resources around mental health, from free therapy sessions, to apps, to special emotional and mental health programs are very necessary. As an example, after the COVID pandemic first wave, Starbucks implemented an impressive therapy benefits program for its workers and their eligible family members, at no extra cost to the user. You can also creatively come up with a program or strategy that works for your employees and your business size and structure.
Make sure your employees are aware of the available mental health resources:
Awareness, education, and early intervention are important components of the adoption of mental health benefits and resources.
Offer one on one support and talk openly about mental health:
A simple way you can implement this is always asking about how your employees are doing, before getting down to business. Discuss other things, ask about their lives and how they're faring generally. It's very important to create a culture of openness and inclusion. A show of empathy and support from direct supervisors or team leaders can be just as powerful as a mental health program or EAP.
Create clear boundaries between work and personal time in remote settings: