Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Is everyone okay? In addition to protecting employee’s physical health with sick days, masks and gloves, and remote work, the emotional and mental impact of COVID-19 is important for businesses to consider.
Employee wellness has been a buzzword as Millennials join the workforce. What does that mean in practice? To start prioritizing employee mental wellness during this particularly challenging time, consider the following five tips:
1. Be Transparent
Anxiety thrives in the unknown. Practice consistent transparent communication. Share new policies or remote options in real time. Admit that no one is good at Zoom yet, but you will learn the platform together. And if you are planning workforce changes, be honest and upfront as soon as you can.
2. Respect Boundaries
Allow your employees to create boundaries between work and life, especially if they are working from home. Be explicit about when notifications for text or email can be turned off. Ensure a sick day or PTO day is truly free of work. And ensure that those in leadership model these practices.
3. Encourage Wellness at Work
There are countless positive correlations between wellness and productivity, and it’s easier to encourage than you might think! Wellness can include healthy eating, movement, and spiritual well-being. Consider providing short virtual classes or optional groups that focus on things like nutrition, yoga or fitness, and meditation. Talking about wellness shows your employees you care about them as people.
4. Encourage Breaks
Breaks create a reset that allows employees to start their next task more refreshed and energized. Schedule 15 minute gaps between meetings, give a five minute “camera off” break during meetings longer than an hour, or encourage employees to place protected “work blocks” on their calendars during which no one can schedule a meeting.
5. Celebrate Joy
When in crisis, it is easy to overlook the positive. Create a culture where celebration is a regular thing, even if it’s virtual. You can add five minutes for “shout outs” during your weekly team meeting, wear a funny hat or silly accessory to a virtual meeting, or allow time for people to introduce their pets on a call. Finding joy at work can smooth the sharp edges of an uncertain time, and bring people closer together.
For official government resources on mental wellness visit https://www.mentalhealth.gov.