COVID-19 has a fault line. There is a vivid dichotomy of its impact on mental health for American workers that is unmistakable for anyone paying attention. For some employees, government orders to stay at home and flexibility from their employers is offering a much-needed break. It is a respite from the grind even though they are still teleworking. For many others, however, the pandemic is constant pressure on an already fragile mind. It presents a danger.
With the death toll continuing to climb, particularly in the African-American and more vulnerable communities, each day may be met with offering someone condolences for their loss for some. Or they are wishing folks a speedy recovery. If the virus hasn’t snatched away someone people know (or are just a degree or two away from), it has shattered their financial position. For those on the unfortunate side of the line, life is exponentially harder. Support from their employers could be the balm needed to soothe the wounds.
Employers can help in many ways, especially as it relates to communication. Below are three suggestions for playing a positive role in improving employee mental health:
In a recent study by global communications firm Edelman, employees around the world revealed that they most want to hear from their employers after healthcare professionals. They are not looking to news media or government for guidance. They want it from their bosses. Frequent communication that assures staffers that the company for which they work cares about their well-being can go a long way in reducing anxiety. It must be noted that organizational rhetoric has to be backed up by action to have the desired results. What should you talk about? The steps your company is taking to reduce an outbreak and keep employees safe is a great place to start.
Fake news is real. It can run rampant. We are in a time in history where most people do not read beyond headlines or, at best, an opening paragraph, so it is easy for employees to get bombarded with inaccurate news and headlines. One way employers can combat this and reduce stress for workers is to educate them using trusted, fact-based, non-partisan resources.
Keep in mind that many of your employees may be mentally and emotionally exhausted. If fiscally possible, offer a solution that allows workers to access anonymous mental health support services at any time. Telemedicine is an excellent option that can demonstrate your compassion for your staff.
We hope these tips help you navigate the new world under COVID-19. If you would like more tips and suggestions, please see our previous blog post on this topic, “Mental Health Will Be The Next Pandemic – How Business Leaders Can Help.” You can also contact us for more individualized corporate communications solutions.