- Posted by Jon Harju
- On March 10, 2020
During these times of uncertainty as we witness the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) it is understandable that many people feel an increased level of concern regarding their health and the safety of their families and communities.
The novel nature of COVID-19 is a major contributor to the anxiety people are experiencing – affecting their actions and reactions. This increased anxiety is being felt in all environments, including the workplace.
It’s essential organizations make their people a top priority and work to protect employees’ health, keeping them well-informed, and helping them to manage their well-being needs and those of their families.
How your employee’s mental health is impacted
It’s important to recognize the sheer influx of COVID-19 information can impact our mental health, especially the daily news and media updates that are associated with so many unknowns. Outbreaks can trigger feelings of powerlessness and fear in all of us.
When anxiety begins to affect people’s daily ability to function, it becomes problematic in both their home and work lives. Taking measures to ensure your employees are in the best physical and psychological health at times of uncertainty is paramount.
So, what can workplaces do to help ensure the safety of their employees, and reduce workplace anxiety around coronavirus?
6 ways to support employees’ well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Share the facts and details of your organizational plan to demonstrate and reassure employees what is being done to protect and support them. Workplaces have an important role in providing information to their employees from trusted sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Educate your team on COVID-19 as well as what the actual calculated risks are for your area. Be mindful of employees overexposure to 24/7 news and the impact that can have on their mental health. For more thoughts on anxiety and COVID-19 read our member blog as we share 8 ways to relieve your COVID-19 anxiety and support your well-being.
- Encourage employees to follow best health practices in the work environment with ample handwashing stations, tissues, and hand sanitizers, to help protect themselves and others from illness.
- Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick and seek medical attention if they have recently travelled and returned from affected international locations where community spread is occuring. Whenever possible, try to be flexible and accommodating to those who may be able to work remotely.
- Be thoughtful about the need and locations for your employee’s work-related travel.
- Consider providing a mental health care benefit that can be used from the comfort of their own space via text, audio or video sessions. Mental wellness support is essential for helping people to manage their anxiety. Help via a digital platform can be particularly beneficial if social distancing is encouraged.
- Employers should communicate any benefits, telemedicine and digital support options that are available to them. Digital consultations with medical professionals via smart devices could help ease employees’ fears about visiting healthcare facilities where viruses often spread.
Provide positive mental well-being support
During times of health outbreaks and uncertainty, a commitment to building healthy habits becomes even more critical to our daily life. It’s important employees feel supported by their employers and the best way to demonstrate this is to practice transparency, empathy and patience in addition to providing the health benefits that can make a difference to employees’ needs and those of their families.