Posted by: Scott Appnel
Date: March 23, 2020
During emergent health situations, such as the one we are facing now with COVID-19, we understand that employers could benefit from support and guidance with keeping their employees’ well-being intact. Whether employees are coming into the office, holding down operations in a manufacturing facility, or working remotely, there are many factors to consider, including easing anxiety, helping them stay engaged during times of disruption, and keeping them informed.
While everyone may be inundated with messages right now, the most important one for employers to get across to employees is, “We are here for you.” By leaning on dependable resources, employers can “be there” for employees in a number of ways.
Leverage technology to enable employees to work remotely and meet online. While this isn’t possible for everyone, it’s an advantage if it is – especially in the current situation where social distancing is vital. Help those at home stay engaged by encouraging connections through online meetings, providing daily or weekly updates, and allowing flexibility to support the changes that employees are dealing with in their homes.
Support employees working onsite. For workplaces where employees cannot be remote, try to accommodate alternative work schedules and staggered commute times to support social distancing efforts. Make sure emergency contact information is up-to-date and there is a system in place for quickly disseminating important information.
Rely on your well-being programs. It’s ideal to be able to offer employees mental health and wellness support through your wellness programs. Many programs offer remote support that can be leveraged during times like this, such as mental health counseling, health coaching, and wellness challenges that can keep employees focused and engaged, as well as other online resources.
Encourage balance to help reduce stress. Share well-being tips with employees, such as the recommendation from experts about taking breaks from news stories about the emergency at hand. Other suggestions include pausing to take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate, and focusing on well-balanced meals and regular exercise. Also, if stress or anxiety are interrupting daily activities, urge employees to speak with a professional counselor about their feelings.
Make sure your employees have reliable emergency information. For the current challenge posed by coronavirus and COVID-19, direct employees to the official site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The site provides the latest updates, resources, and guidelines. This can help ease fears employees may have about the unknown.
Most importantly, employers need to have resources available that they can quickly access in emergent situations such as this. Preparedness is the key. When employers and employees know where to turn for the right kind of help, emergencies can sometimes become less threatening as collaboration, support, and a sense of community take hold.
Here’s how our teams can help in this unprecedented time: