We are now 3-4 weeks into our work from home models. If you weren’t already accustomed to using video conferencing, you are probably an expert by now. No longer do you need to apologize for the dog, cat, or toddler “video-bombing” your call. Most that I have talked to are adapting and, in some cases, are more productive now versus working in a traditional office. On the flip side, I am beginning to sense that others may be struggling with a lack of engagement, feeling less productive, or lack of purpose in comparison to those who are working on the front lines to treat patients. Businesses that have seen a decrease in business, who have had to make hard decisions to furlough or lay off employees, may have a workforce that is having difficulties dealing with the impact of the “new normal.”
The one thing every employer should be doing right now is helping their employees stay mentally well.
Most employee health plans have EAP programs. Now would be a good time to remind your employees about the services available to them, many of which were already offering telephonic or telehealth services. Leaders of organizations should also try to communicate regularly with the employees to give a status update on the business, share some good news, and to be transparent about the future.
There are also services available that employers may want to consider to boost employee morale, such as peer to peer networks that connect people to trained coaches who are on the other side of a life challenge. Sometimes people need to feel heard and understood and know that they are not alone in their life challenge. LifeGuides is an example of this type of network.
Below are some other ways employers can engage employees and make a positive impact on emotional wellbeing. These are suggestions and should be considered in conjunction with any local restrictions.
Purpose: Volunteer your time remotely or in-person at a food bank or other agency that is supporting those who may be experiencing difficult times. Food Banks are seeing a massive increase in demand and rely heavily on volunteers to get the food to communities.
Productivity: Managers should meet with their teams more frequently to check in on progress on specific tasks as well as listen for signs of depression or challenges.
Engagement: Place an emphasis and priority on professional development. Ask everyone on the team to complete an online learning opportunity. Learn a new language, take a technical certification, or learn about leadership. Do something exciting and fulfilling
Empathy: Employees now working remotely are also homeschooling their children and acting as caregivers in addition to their full-time work.
Most importantly, keep in mind the “new normal” impacts everyone from the top down. Be patient, be understanding, and be kind to yourself and one another.
Be well, stay well!