How to Support Employees’ Mental Health as COVID-19 Restrictions Change

Jana Dee Reserva

4 January 2021    |   

One of the critical workforce issues during the pandemic is managing mental health as employees deal with the impact of remote work, reduced hours, and restriction changes. Video conferencing fatigue, blurred lines between home and work life and fear of getting sick are challenges employees contend with as they navigate the pandemic. But as time has passed, coping with these changing restrictions has added greater stresses to both employers and employees.  Restrictions in Australia vary per state or territory. Meanwhile, in the US, restrictions have changed over time in each state; some tightened while others eased up. The UK also imposed a national lockdown again until  2nd December with restrictions likely to continue as the UK introduces a new tier system. More than the impact on operations, such changes also affect employees’ mental health. Employers need to ensure that staff can cope with being back at work when these lockdowns and restrictions are lifted.  Encourage employees to take time off With working dynamics disrupted, employees need to have some space to recharge and cope.  Managers can stay on top of staff time off through a leave management solution. With this in place, approving leave requests and optimising employee schedules based on who is available becomes easier and more efficient.  Adjust working patterns to reduce overworking and minimise contact Rotate teams in groups to prevent overworking and mitigate infection risks. Tanda allows managers to create segmented teams to work on rotational schedules.  Stay transparent and connected It’s vital to make everyone feel that they’re part of a team. Transparency is vital to effective workforce management, especially during this time.  Keep your staff informed and ensure that communication lines are always open for them. Tanda chat allows for instant communication between teams or individuals. It can be used to share essential information, celebrate wins and milestones, and allow everyone to stay connected.  Another way to ensure transparency is by setting custom events via Tanda. It’s ideal for communicating operational changes to the team, such as reduced business hours or roster changes. That information will be visible to the schedule and mobile app, making it easier for staff to stay in the loop. Implement wellness action plans A wellness action plan is a way to spot mental health issues and identify the type of support employees need from their managers and leaders. It acts as a framework for staff to recognize the steps they need to manage their mental health. At the same time, it opens up avenues for managers and employees to work through experiences, address issues, and support the team’s overall wellbeing.  A wellness action plan should have approaches to promote mental health. It should also have ways to identify poor mental health, stress triggers, impact on performance, support needed from leaders, action steps for both employee and manager, and a regular schedule to review the plan.  Companies can also consider subscribing to wellness apps or services to better support their employees’ mental wellness. Services that offer virtual counselling services can help employees cope and process their feelings and experiences, especially during the pandemic.  Establish a support system for leaders and managers Managers and leaders are in a unique position of facing the pandemic and taking care of a team. They equally need a support system that will help them identify best practices for managing their teams. Forming groups or seeking out advice from mentors and other industry professionals is a good first step. 

One of the critical workforce issues during the pandemic is managing mental health as employees deal with the impact of remote work, reduced hours, and restriction changes.

Video conferencing fatigue, blurred lines between home and work life and fear of getting sick are challenges employees contend with as they navigate the pandemic. But as time has passed, coping with these changing restrictions has added greater stresses to both employers and employees. 

Restrictions in Australia vary per state or territory. Meanwhile, in the US, restrictions have changed over time in each state; some tightened while others eased up. The UK also imposed a national lockdown again until  2nd December with restrictions likely to continue as the UK introduces a new tier system. More than the impact on operations, such changes also affect employees’ mental health. Employers need to ensure that staff can cope with being back at work when these lockdowns and restrictions are lifted. 

Encourage employees to take time off

With working dynamics disrupted, employees need to have some space to recharge and cope. 

Managers can stay on top of staff time off through a leave management solution. With this in place, approving leave requests and optimising employee schedules based on who is available becomes easier and more efficient. 

Adjust working patterns to reduce overworking and minimise contact

Rotate teams in groups to prevent overworking and mitigate infection risks. Tanda allows managers to create segmented teams to work on rotational schedules. 

Stay transparent and connected

It’s vital to make everyone feel that they’re part of a team. Transparency is vital to effective workforce management, especially during this time. 

Keep your staff informed and ensure that communication lines are always open for them. Tanda chat allows for instant communication between teams or individuals. It can be used to share essential information, celebrate wins and milestones, and allow everyone to stay connected. 

Another way to ensure transparency is by setting custom events via Tanda. It’s ideal for communicating operational changes to the team, such as reduced business hours or roster changes. That information will be visible to the schedule and mobile app, making it easier for staff to stay in the loop.

Implement wellness action plans

A wellness action plan is a way to spot mental health issues and identify the type of support employees need from their managers and leaders. It acts as a framework for staff to recognize the steps they need to manage their mental health. At the same time, it opens up avenues for managers and employees to work through experiences, address issues, and support the team’s overall wellbeing. 

A wellness action plan should have approaches to promote mental health. It should also have ways to identify poor mental health, stress triggers, impact on performance, support needed from leaders, action steps for both employee and manager, and a regular schedule to review the plan. 

Companies can also consider subscribing to wellness apps or services to better support their employees’ mental wellness. Services that offer virtual counselling services can help employees cope and process their feelings and experiences, especially during the pandemic. 

Establish a support system for leaders and managers

Managers and leaders are in a unique position of facing the pandemic and taking care of a team. They equally need a support system that will help them identify best practices for managing their teams. Forming groups or seeking out advice from mentors and other industry professionals is a good first step. 

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About the author

Jana Dee Reserva

Jana Dee is a content and digital marketing professional who's advocating for cultural breakthroughs in organisations through technology and good employee engagement practices.

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