The current pandemic has brought workplace health and wellness into the spotlight, but much of the focus has been on our physical health. COVID-19 has also taken a huge toll on our mental health and it is important that employers are ready with support in the workplace. 

 

A Culture of Support

 

One of the first and most important steps that employers can take to improve mental health supports in the workplace is to reduce the stigma. Many people still struggle with asking for help and an open, supportive environment is necessary to encourage people to come forward. Open access to educational materials and resources will help break down barriers and make support available to everyone, without the fear of judgement. 

 

Stay Connected

 

Much of the workforce has pivoted to working from home in the past few months, which can lead to social isolation. Employers need to make sure that their employees stay connected and informed so that they still feel that they are part of a team. This can be as simple as sending out team emails to reminding employees of the resources that are available to them, either in the community or through your group benefits plan or EAP.  Organizing safe, socially distanced social activities, even online, helps to keep up morale and personal engagement. 

 

Be Flexible

 

If there was ever a time to allow employees more flexibility, this is it. Many working parents are also juggling virtual schooling, so allowing them to work modified hours may be the key to their peace of mind. Focussing on overall output instead of hours logged in front of a computer is a great way to positively reframe expectations while still getting the job done. 

 

Review Your Group Benefits Offerings 

 

A recent study found that only 62% of small businesses adequately address the mental health needs of their employees in their current health benefits package. Now is an excellent time for employers to review their group benefits plans and EAPs to make sure that their employees are truly getting everything that they need. Some examples include virtual healthcare, in-house workshops and dedicated support lines. 

 

These are confusing, unprecedented times for all of us as both employers and employees. True North HR Consulting is here to help with complete HR services customized to your needs. From small businesses to large organizations, our goal is to assist, advise and implement strategies and policies to make your business thrive and keep your people happy. With over 20  years of experience and expertise, we can help you generate new ideas and solve big problems. Reach out today and let’s get started … hr@truenorthhr.ca