COVID and mental health: What employers and HR need to know (VB Live)

COVID and mental health: What employers and HR need to know (VB Live)
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Sponsored by TriNet

The pandemic may dramatically affect your employees’ mental health and productivity — and, in turn, that may impact the health of your company. Join this VB Live event to learn about the internal strategies HR can use to support and rally employees in a difficult time.

Register here for free.

We’re eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, and communities, ecosystems, and supply chains are still coming to grips with the widespread impact of the disease. Whatever their personal situation, your employees may be struggling with that uncertainty, worrying about the health and safety of their loved ones, and concerned about how the pandemic is disrupting their work life.

Their mental and physical health has a direct impact on the quality of their work, their engagement with their jobs, and their productivity – which also has a direct impact on the company’s health. And now is the time to understand and meet their needs with empathy, generosity, and flexibility. Here are a few ways to begin.

Start at the top

Company leaders need to show up for their people. How they set the tone in a crisis has a powerful, long-lasting effect on company morale and team spirit. In a sea of unknowns, with no land on the horizon yet, employees are looking for direction and leadership. You need to be proactive, staying on top of new news and developments as the situation evolves, while keeping consistent and calm in your messaging and your response to changes. You’ll need to stay focused on the here and now, but don’t forget to plan for recovery, with confidence that you and your employees can meet the challenges of the new normal.

Review leave policies

It’s unavoidable – too many employees are worried about getting sick and losing income, or even losing their jobs. Paid sick leave, leave of absence, and work-from-home policies should be revisited to help ensure that your employees feel safe enough to call out when they’re sick, or ask to work virtually if their at-home situation changes. Working parents are particularly struggling as schools continue to look for the balance between in-person and virtual education that’s best for everyone. Be aware of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides paid leave to eligible employees for several different qualifying reasons (including for child care needs due to COVID-19 related school/child care closures), and numerous temporary state and local emergency/supplemental paid sick leave entitlements for COVID-19 related reasons.

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Develop a solid communication plan

Your communication strategy is one of your top tools to ensure your employees’ confidence and sense of safety. The information you provide your employees and partners should be transparent, accurate, and clear. Concealing risk or potentially bad news may backfire, and can cause rifts between your employees and your company leaders, destroy trust, and cause even more damage and risk to your company.

Educate employees

There’s a lot of information out there about the coronavirus, and with that overload comes a lot of anxiety and sometimes even panic. Provide your employees with comprehensive, actionable education about the disease and its symptoms, as well as best practice safety measures. That keeps them safer – and that, plus instituting evidence-based safety measures in the workplace like masks, social distancing, and more also demonstrates that you are deeply invested in their health and safety. Make sure there are protocols for work-from-home procedures that help keep employees productive and connected while out of the office, and that there are ways for employees to ask questions or share concerns.

Brainstorm employee support strategies

Whether they’re working at home or in the office, the social and collaborative nature of work has changed. The pandemic is requiring employees to keep their distance from one another, and as a result they may be feeling isolated, detached, and unmotivated, especially as the pandemic continues with no clear end in sight. Now is the time to start developing strategies to keep your employees connected, whether that’s virtual happy hours and trivia games, frequent scheduled check-ins among team members or with team leaders, or developing a buddy system. Employees should also feel that it’s safe to discuss their fears, issues, and questions without being judged or worried that they’re putting themselves or their job at risk. Consider establishing avenues for employees to easily contact HR reps or other leaders, whether that’s a hotline, an anonymous virtual drop box, or a dedicated chat channel.

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An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is also a prime way to offer access to confidential resources for employees to get help managing stress or dealing with personal matters. EAPs offer flexible solutions from counseling and wellness to crisis preparedness and management.

To learn more about the impact that COVID is having on your employees’ mental health and productivity, plus the internal strategies organizations need now to support them, register now for this VB Live event.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

You’ll learn:

  • What employers need to know about COVID’s impact on the mental health of their employees
  • How the mental strain of COVID may negatively impact the health of a company and employee productivity
  • Best steps and practices companies are taking to help their employees get through this difficult time

Speakers:

  • Christy Yaccarino, Executive Director, Benefit Strategy and Wellness, TriNet
  • Michael McCafferty, Consultant, FEI Behavioral Health
  • Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat

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