Time to check in on your employees’ mental health
We are well into 2022 now, and the easter holidays are upon us. Over two years since the Covid-19 pandemic began and lockdowns were put in place, this is the first travel opportunity that we have had no restrictions to contend with. Many of us are relieved and planning to get away from it all. Finally, time to truly relax, rest up, and recharge our batteries.
However, it is also important to be mindful that this is also likely to be a period of intense reflection. Here, we explore how the last two years may have impacted your employees, and how you can check in with them during this strange time.
As restrictions have lifted, more and more people have been feeling burned out. It might seem strange that this would be true right as things go back to “normal” - but having a moment to press pause and reflect may also mean being confronted with the events of the past two years.
If your employees have been running on fumes over the entire pandemic, having time to rest may result in them being hit hard by “resilience burnout” as a result of having carried on through such a challenging time.
Be aware of employee wellbeing
A large part of people management is being aware of your employees’ wellbeing and mental health. This is especially important now. Take the time to look into what kind of support you can offer your staff if they are struggling, or just to give them a boost if they need it. You can offer a range of wellbeing initiatives, or at least have the right information to connect staff members to these services.
While you may offer an EAP (employee assistance programme), you should also gather information about the availability of local services that your employees may need to access. Having a wide range of information available makes it more likely that your employees will get the support they need, and may also make them feel more connected to your company overall, and more secure.
Look out for signs
There are signs that employees are struggling with mental health or wellbeing issues. Perhaps they are more withdrawn than usual, working longer hours, or even taking more sick days than is normal for them. Or you may simply notice that their work is slower than usual.
Spotting these signs is important, as it gives you the chance to intervene and act quickly, ensuring that your employees have access to the help they need.
Seeking out signs that someone is struggling can be easier in person, where you can see someone’s body language clearly or notice if they just don’t seem to be acting like themselves. However, this is more difficult if you are working remotely. You may not have seen the employee in person in months, so how can you keep in touch and check in effectively?
Utilising technology can help you to check in with people, such as by increasing your one-to-one check-ins in order to keep them feeling connected. But you can also use it to check in with your employees more casually. Have they stopped using video during calls, are they not taking as many calls from colleagues? Have you noticed them going quiet in emails and Slack chats? Technology can be a good way to see when your employees stop participating - which may point to a larger issue.
Being open and encouraging a dialogue around mental health and support is essential during these difficult times. But remember, you should not catastrophise and assume that every employee who is behaving differently than normal has a mental health struggle.
We are all too familiar with how nowadays no one can cough without someone wondering if they have Covid-19. But sometimes a cough is just a cough. And sometimes an employee will simply have a bad day and be struggling with that, rather than this indicating some larger issue.
You should give your employees the time and space to speak to you or someone else about their mental health, without assuming that every bad day must be part of a pattern. In this way, you will be able to provide help if and when it is appropriate, to those who really need it.
The restrictions that were put in place due to Covid-19 may have ended, but now is the perfect time to step up and support your staff. This may look different for each staff member, so be prepared to put in the time and effort to take care of their mental wellbeing - even though the restrictions are over, their impact will likely be with us all for a long while yet.
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Disclaimer – The contents of this blog do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only. We can only advise on the basis of specific client instructions and are unable to offer legal advice by email to anyone who are not our clients. To find out more about becoming a client of Lodge Court please talk to us.