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Mental Health

How To Take Care Of Your Employees’ Mental Health During COVID-19

Smitakshi Guha

Find out how employers can be proactive about their employees' mental health amidst COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a surge of uncertainty—something that is quite challenging to deal with. It’s not just a physical issue anymore and has started meddling with each and everyone’s mental peace as well. Coming to work life, most employees are now trying really hard to work in tandem with their personal issues to achieve their individual professional goals. 

Needless to say, all the stress, uncertainty, and sudden shift in the way they are working have taken a toll on their mental well-being. As employers, it thus becomes imperative to ensure that your team gets that much-needed boost to do well at work regardless of the lack of clarity about the future and this is only possible when you pay keen attention towards their mental well-being. Here’s a list of how the current COVID-19 scenario is affecting your employees’ mental health and how you can help—

Alleviate ‘work panic’, fear of pay-cuts/layoffs

Why this is important: Working from home may be convenient in some industries but even then, there’s no denying that the sudden shift in working style has resulted in long work hours, reduced tea-breaks, long conference calls, etc. Add to that the constant fear of layoffs and pay-cuts—it is bound to result in sleepless nights, poor appetite, and rising health concerns. Of course, the first witness of these consequences would be the employee’s family before it starts impacting the organizational goals as well.    

What you can do: In such a scenario, it’s essential to give your employees the liberty to swim without the fear of drowning. Keeping a track of things is essential but they should have the freedom to switch off work for sometime when it gets overwhelming so that they can focus on other areas that can refresh their minds. Also, give them the clarity they deserve about where the organization is headed in this current scenario and how it plans to get back on track. Beating around the bush would only accelerate their stress levels and their mental health would be in jeopardy.

Establish effective modes of communication

Why this is important: It’s often presumed that just because someone is ‘working from home’ they are at ease and comfort and hence, can do anything and everything that’s assigned to them at any given point of time. Sometimes, there’s a lack of empathy, rudeness in tonality, and it creates a lot of communication issues, which can again meddle with one’s mental health.

What you can do: What one needs to remember is that work from home style of working is not voluntarily chosen by anyone. It’s something that the current situation has demanded. Thus, while communicating with one another, there should always be compassion, empathy, and concern for the safety and well-being of each other. This will circumvent any kind of communication issues, since the only mode of conversation these days is either Zoom calls or phone calls other than emails, of course.

Keep your employees’ fitness in mind

Why this is important: With the restriction in movement, long work hours, and too much of everything going ‘digital’ there’s an obvious lack of physical activity that everyone is facing. Being glued to the laptop screens, spending more time than usual on the phone and the kitchen, have further limited people’s fitness regime these days. Not only does this sedentary lifestyle increase one’s risk of physical health issues, such as obesity, muscle loss, low immunity, orthopaedic problems, among others, but it also affects their mental health when coupled with anxiety, fear, and depression.

What you can do: In such a scenario, it’s absolutely vital that you motivate your employees to have that much-needed ‘ME-TIME’ to focus on just themselves, even if it is for 40 to 60 minutes in a day. Encourage them to practice indoor workouts that can help them stay fit and active, which would not only boost their mood but it would also reflect in their professional performance.

Don’t let them forget the word: Routine

Why this is important: When people would go to offices, they mostly followed a routine of waking up at a certain time, heading for a jog/gym, breakfast, going to work, lunch, so on and so forth. Now with this sudden change in working style, the ‘routine’ no longer exists and even if it does, it is all tampered with. Most people aren’t eating and sleeping on time. This ultimately impacts their ability to maintain physical and mental equilibrium, because the absence of a balanced diet and adequate sleep will eventually lead to an over-secretion of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.

What you can do: It is important that as employers, you motivate your employees to create a ‘new routine’ just like we’ve slowly started adapting to the ‘new normal.’ Of course, they won’t be able to get used to it overnight, but today is a good start! Make sure they get their daily 8 hours of sleep because a lack of sleep will affect their performance at work in no time. To ensure that they are following a healthy diet and since cooking might not be a hobby for everyone, connect them to clinical dietitians online, who can create personal diet plans for them.

There’s no denying that the current situation has put a lot of businesses in jeopardy but it is equally undeniable that amidst this pandemic, taking care of your employees’ mental health is extremely important. Make sure they can get professional help for their mental health whenever required, by connecting them to top psychologists online. They can also consult top doctors across 25 specialities online on the MFine app for any other health concerns.

It is only when your employees are fully healthy that they can contribute towards the overall health of your organization. 

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