Has your mental health taken a toll since the beginning of the pandemic? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone. A recent study conducted by Qualtrics found that 42% of respondents have experienced a decline in mental health since March 2020. With no clear end to the pandemic in sight and the return to office fast approaching, many employees are mentally struggling with the uncertainty around them.
If you are looking for ways to ease these transitions and support your employees’ mental health, check out our tips below.
Encourage Time Off
While it may seem counterintuitive, research shows that it’s good for business when employees take time off. This time away from the office allows them to recharge while coming back to work with a renewed sense of drive and purpose. Using up vacation time can also improve sleep, creativity, heart health, and mindfulness, which are all characteristics that typically suffer when someone is feeling overworked. Employers should not only encourage their employees to use their vacation time, but also allow their team to fully disconnect from work when they are away from the office. Receiving calls and emails from your boss while on vacation can be stressful or guilt-ridden, which defeats the purpose of them taking a vacation in the first place.
In response to the pandemic, many employees have grown to appreciate the flexibility and freedom that remote work offers. Mothers can be more involved in their children’s lives, adventurous team members have the opportunity to travel during the week, and pet owners can enjoy cuddling up with their animals during a stressful day. Giving employees the opportunity to work whenever or wherever they want can also be beneficial for managers. It’s been found that employees with flexible work schedules are more engaged and productive and have better attendance records. As an employer, it may seem overwhelming to manage a team that is working different hours or at different locations, but it doesn’t have to be challenging. Work with your team to establish strong communication tactics and set up processes to measure performance with results rather than time.
Model Healthy Behaviors
As your team’s leader, your employees look to you for guidance and support, but you also set the tone for standard office behaviors and procedures. If you want your team to prioritize their mental health, prove to them that you practice what you preach by announcing when you are going on a walk to clear your head or need to take a day off after a challenging week. While senior management plays a huge role in establishing company culture, Forbes found that lower-level managers have a greater impact on whether employees take advantage of wellness initiatives. Managers should adopt healthy behaviors and encourage employees to prioritize their own mental health. When executives do their part to show that mental health is a priority, the entire organization feels empowered to do the same.
Make Wellness a Priority
Mental health and physical health are more connected than many people think. Problems with physical health impact our risk of developing mental health problems and vice versa. While there is only so much that can be done from inside the office, managers should encourage their employees to develop healthy lifestyles by establishing wellness initiatives that reward members of their team for setting and achieving health goals. When people make their physical health a priority, mental health improves as a result. As an employer, you should be motivated to create successful wellness initiatives not just for the wellbeing of your employees, but also because it can save you money on healthcare costs. Research suggests that wellness programs that promote healthy habits, such as working out, quitting smoking, and eating healthy, reduce the risk of health problems, which can yield to $136 in savings per member, per month! While it may seem daunting to establish wellness initiatives and make them a priority within your organization, it can vastly improve the lives of everyone within your team.
We hope these tips help create a positive work environment for your team. We urge you to also prioritize your own mental health during this stressful time. If you are overwhelmed about hiring the right candidates in the telecommunications, IT, or engineering sectors, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help!