Presented by TriNet
As the COVID pandemic continues to evolve, the impact on employees’ mental health and productivity is unprecedented. Join this VB Live event for the strategies HR and business leaders can use to support employees, improve productivity, and more.
We’re still at the center of a major pandemic and employees are frantically juggling work and their personal lives — especially employees with children or elderly parents. Stress levels are high, and right now, companies need to focus on ways they can support their workers.
“The big issue companies face is how to create a balance where the work gets done, but you’re supporting your employees and their families too,” says Christy Yaccarino, executive director, benefit strategy and wellness, at TriNet.
Dealing with the lockdown in general is knocking everything off balance. Being stuck at home is a strain on people, weighing on them mentally, and working from home isn’t for everyone. They might not have the right tools to work from home effectively — the right office equipment, or a separate office space — meaning it’s a challenge to be productive whether you live alone or have family responsibilities, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
“You run the risk of losing top talent that just feel like they’re not supported enough to be able to do it all, so they have to take a step back,” Yaccarino says. “Women especially are impacted, dropping out of the workforce because they’re unable to strike a balance between family responsibilities and their career.”
Once that happens, the amount of time it takes you to find a new person, train that person, get them up and running can set company goals back significantly. If you’re trying to do all of that remotely, that puts more stress on each department, the leaders, and the company as a whole, she notes.
Some examples of the steps companies are taking to support their employees’ mental health include backup childcare services, which can mean enabling them to hire someone to help their kids, whether it be with virtual school, or just watching their kids while they work. Companies should also consider subsidizing a portion of the cost of daycare, because it’s an unexpected cost that employees didn’t plan for, and some might not be able to afford.
Wellness programs in general are also helping keep employees healthy and active. That could include offering fitness apps, which enables users to work out anywhere — an especially useful benefit with gyms being closed. Apps that offer meditation and other mindfulness techniques are also a good bet, helping employees stay centered, focused, and calm.
An employee assistance program (EAP) is can offer important benefits for employees’ mental health, and even for those companies who already have one, it often gets overlooked. So it’s important to make sure your employees are aware of the services an EAP can provide. Those can include therapy sessions over the phone or via video chat, or 24/7 access to counselors who can provide support and help for dependent issues, work-related stress, COVID-related stress, and so on.
However, while employees may know of the existence of these programs, they may be reluctant to pick up the phone or get online and make that inquiry because of a perceived stigma. Employers should be open about how seriously they’re taking the stress employees are experiencing, the impact that stress can have on their happiness and health, and why supporting them through this strange time is a company priority — and ensure they understand that any contact with providers through an EAP is 100% anonymous and confidential.
Yaccarino suggests that it can be helpful to create a benefits hub where employees can easily find everything benefit-related, including a section on any services that can help support mental health during the COVID pandemic.
In the end, one of the most important ways to support your employees is ensuring that you remain in constant, open communication, whether that’s through email, the intranet, videos, or other avenues. Employees should be kept up to date on how the business is doing, and employers should be as open as possible about this, even in tough times, so that nobody is caught off guard.
“Be honest with the employees, and reassure them that we’re going to weather this storm,” Yaccarino says. “This is a hard year, but here’s what we’re doing to help turn things around.”
To learn more about the impact COVID is having on employees’ mental health and strategies to help them stay productive and happy through a difficult time, don’t miss this webinar presented by TriNet and FEI, the Workforce Resilience Experts.
Don’t miss out!
- What employers need to know about COVID’s impact on the mental health of their employees
- How the mental strain of COVID may negatively impact the health of a company and employee productivity
- Best steps and practices companies are taking to help their employees get through this difficult time
- Christy Yaccarino, Executive Director, Benefit Strategy and Wellness, TriNet
- Michael McCafferty, Consultant, FEI Behavioral Health
- Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat