Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus: Guidelines for Leaders

Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus: Guidelines for Leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people around the world. After several months, it seems like a normal life is still very far from coming back. All of this is taking a toll on the mental health toll of many.

 

A recent study published in the Medical Journal of Australia showed how this pandemic has affected mental health. In it, we saw that these issues have been twice as common during the pandemic compared to before it. On the other hand, over a third of Americans have been diagnosed with signs of depression, anxiety, or both ever since the pandemic began. This is thanks to the United States Census Bureau’s findings.

 

There are many different reasons for this. The different measures like social distancing and isolation, are stressful for people. Besides, homeschooling their children, worrying for their family members, their finances, and jobs hasn’t helped at all in this situation. Not to mention the fact that they are now less independent and can’t follow their usual routine. All of this can lead to an increase in substance abuse, family violence, and self-harm. Thus, the mental-health of people has become another crisis in the midst of all of this.

 

How COVID-19 can affect workplace mental health

 

As an employer, you must take care of the mental health of your employees during this crisis. Keep in mind that they can develop anxiety, fear, stress, depression, and other issues in the workplace. All of this as a result of the pandemic.

 

All of this can put a heavy weight on the shoulders of people, alongside the normal demands of their jobs. They can:

 

  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Lose concentration
  • Make mistakes and poor decisions
  • Breakdown
  • Reduce their productivity
  • Even burn out entirely

 

In some cases, these mental health issues may be new. However, in others, this situation could only worsen pre-existing ones.

 

Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus, Companies, and Mental Health resources

 

More often than not, the general public still considers mental health as a Taboo and has a stigma over it. Because of this, most people don’t feel comfortable sharing their issues with their managers or coworkers. 

 

Some companies may offer limited mental health resources for their employees. However, they fail to talk with them about it and maybe help them more than they do. In other cases, some companies don’t offer even the bare minimum for these issues. We know this thanks to the Transamerica justify for Health Studies report. In it, we saw that 17% of US employers said they didn’t offer any resources at all. 

 

If there is something good that we can take from this pandemic, is the fact that we know now how companies didn’t consider the mental health of their staff. So, we now have the opportunity to fix this and establish some protocols or systems to deal with these issues.

 

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions reported that around 53% of employers are looking to provide better conditions for the mental health of their employees. All of this as a result of the pandemic and its consequences.

 

> Explore this article to learn how managers can help employees deal with COVID related stress.<<

 

The importance of improving mental health in the workplace

 

Studies have found that poor mental health in the workplace has negative effects and can be a burden on employers. However, the implementation of policies and programs that seek to address and improve mental health has turned out to be a good way to increase ROI.

 

A Deloitte study of Canadian employers found out something really important. Turns out that by investing in workplace mental health programs, companies can save more money than by doing nothing. It’s not a surprise to see that these companies are seeing a lack of disability claims. Now, the workers show up more often at work and their rates of employee productivity have increased a lot.

 

If you want to address mental health issues in your company, you must be open-minded. First, start from the beginning, include employee representatives on a working group. There, they will help you to determine what the problems present within your organization are.

 

This way, you will be able to create policies and deliver support systems. These, in turn, can give you give many benefits. All of this can include building a supportive workplace culture. Thanks to this, your staff will feel comfortable discussing their mental health issues without fear of discrimination.

 

Good examples of employee mental health initiatives

 

There a lot of ways that employers can take the necessary steps to help their employees’ mental health. Some examples can include:

 

Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus. Have a mental health policy

 

For this, all your actions should revolve around the creation of mental health policy for your workers. At the same time, you should set some clear goals and expectations for this.

 

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) 

 

You can find this through an outside provider and it offers a set of services. Some of these are confidential counseling, advice, guidance materials, wellbeing courses, and more.

 

Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus. Health and wellbeing apps 

 

This is an app that your employees can download on their personal devices. It can provide them some sort of guidance on aspects of health and emotional wellbeing at work.

 

Online resources 

 

This is a space within your company’s network where employees can easily access materials.

 

Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus. Offer flexibility 

 

An important factor about mental health issues is the stress that comes with a work/life balance. This can even be more stressful for people who are working from home and are faced with in-house responsibilities. They can lose focus which in turn, once they see they aren’t performing as well as before could get stressed. So, for this, you must find ways to create a compromise or tailor work solutions to suit these employees’ needs.

 

Survey your staff 

 

You won’t know how many of your employees are facing mental health issues if you don’t ask them. Granted, they might not answer you in fear of being shamed or even fired. So, you should send regular pulse surveys to ask how employees are feeling and what the company can do to help. We recommend doing this in a way where they can answer anonymously. Thus, they will feel comfortable and answer honestly.

 

>> Learn more about the work stress assessment questionnaire and download 19 questions for free <<

Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus. Train your leadership 

 

Don’t forget about your managers as you can’t do everything yourself. They also need to know how to identify the signs that tell us if an employee is going through a hard time. Thus, you will need to teach them what are the steps to take to discreetly, and with compassion help the employee.

 

Appoint Mental Health First Aid Officers 

 

Many companies now have employees who act as Mental Health First Aid Officers. To do this, they must complete a training course and test them to assist distressed coworkers and get them the help they need. So, as you can see, this is just like when you train a set of employees as First Aid Officers or Fire Wardens to assist their coworkers if needed.

 

Besides the implementation of these programs, you must also teach them well and regularly. This way, your employees will know how and when they can access them.

The role of leadership in addressing work stress and mental health

 

Leaders help to establish the culture within an organization. Because of this, they have a lot of influence over all other employees and layers of management.

 

In leading by example, the leadership in your organization can help to normalize and erase the taboo of talking about mental health issues. This way, your employees will feel that’s safe to do so as well.

 

Managers should also regularly check in on their employees. Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus. This is especially important when talking about their mental health at work during COVID-19. You can include this as part of their duty of care. 

 

Leadership also has an important role to play in advocating any mental health policies and programs in the workplace and encouraging employees who need to use them to do so.

 

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Mental Health at Work during Coronavirus. Keeping employees safe both physically and mentally can be an ongoing challenge, but companies that do this well have loyal and productive staff who are engaged and make the organization succeed.

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts

Many businesses are struggling to keep their employees engaged and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic as the situation has created several challenges that they need to overcome. Learn the 6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts.

 

Since a lot of employees had to work from home, they suddenly lost their usual support systems and ways of communication. Thus, this can harm business results.

 

We are now in a moment where employees are stressed, anxious, and fearful. Because of this, the lack of information can only make matters worse. Likewise, this can allow rumors to arise and cause confusion and misinformation. And even if your organization is trying to keep your employees updated, consider how you are doing it. Using old communication tools like emails can leave some important information out. Thus, your employees could miss, lose, or ignore it.

 

If you don’t have a trustworthy method to get your employee’s feedback, it can be hard to take action. Likewise, it can be very difficult to understand if there any issues that need to be addressed.

 

Internal communications: best practices during COVID-19

 

It doesn’t matter if all of your staff are working from home or if you have some of them working on site. You must regularly and effectively communicate with your people.

 

Likewise, the information and the ways you share it are equally important during these times. There is a wide range of information that your employees need to be up to date with. This can go from company updates to pandemic-specific topics like safety measures and work from home protocols. Thus, this can allow you to ensure that everyone can keep working as part of a team.

 

You can solve some of the most common communication issues by using DeskAlerts. This is an internal communications software solution. Besides, this is a tool that many companies in different industries use to keep their employees up to date. Thus, to demonstrate this, we will show you some of the studies we made about it.

 

Establish a ‘single source of truth’ 

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts, Problem

 

When there isn’t good communication during times of crisis, it can cause rumors, speculations, and wrong information to arise. And once they enter the minds of people it can ve very difficult to undo their damage.

 

Solution

 

You must be open and honest with your employees. Likewise, you have to ensure that you don’t make them wait too long for the information. Otherwise, they will start to guess or make assumptions they shouldn’t. To avoid this, you can send them regular updates to keep them up to date with everything. Remember that you not only need to share information about the company but also about the current situation. You must share this type of information from reliable sources like the WHO or local authorities. You can do this by using internal communications for COVID.

 

Another thing you should remember is using internal communication channels that are reliable enough to reach your employees no matter where they are or what they are using.

 

Tools to use

 

When you use DeskAlerts to communicate with employees you can quickly and easily send messages that you know comes from a reliable source. You can also be sure that the messages have been seen. Besides, you can send messages in a variety of ways and can include HTML links to other information, such as policy documents. You can even send video messages.

 

For establishing a ‘single source of truth’ use Pop-ups, Screensavers, Wallpapers, and scrolling tickers all together.

 

We use DeskAlerts as a ‘source of truth’ for our employees and to send them updates and information on the COVID-19 situation.”

 

(Healthcare, Australia)

 

Send rules, tips, and reminders to keep employees healthy

 

Problem

 

You must keep the health and safety of your employees in and out of the office. For this, you have to implement the measures that the World Health Organization recommends on its guidelines.

 

Some of these are keeping good hygiene, social distancing, cleaning, and the use of masks/face coverings. Thus, if you don’t apply these measures, the virus could spread in your workplace and infect many employees.

 

Solution

 

Every company should have its own set of policies and guidelines. These will let the employees know what steps they must take to remain safe and healthy while working, either from home or on-site.

 

COVID corporate communications best practice dictates that this information should be communicated to staff regularly so they remember what they need to do.

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts, Tools to use

 

With DeskAlerts you can create campaigns around COVID-19 by sending messages in a variety of formats. This can help to remind employees what they need to do. Likewise, using pleasing images in the form of screensavers, wallpapers, and lock screens can reinforce your hygiene rules.

 

A COVID employee case study from the client: “We use DeskAlerts to send our employees reminders to wash hands, maintain social distancing, and so on.”

 

(Manufacturing industry, France)

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts. Communicate IT issues and cybersecurity 

 

Problem

 

IT issues can strike at any time, with little to no warning. Other times you may plan maintenance and updates. When this happens, your IT help desk could become overwhelmed by many people calling and asking the same information. Thus, this can affect the team’s productivity.

 

Cybersecurity issues are also a major threat to any organization. They are even more dangerous when people are working from home. This could be because they aren’t using a VPN or a secure network to access your company’s systems.

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts, Solution

 

Keeping employees informed about any outages – both planned and unplanned – as well as any emerging cybersecurity threats is important for your company’s smooth functioning.

 

Tools to use

 

You can use DeskAlerts to notify these issues to employees through pop-up notifications. You can set up these notifications in advance. This will let your employees know when maintenance will be done. Other functions include lock screens for when there’s a threat. Besides, you can also send your employees reminders about your company’s cybersecurity protocols. You can do this by using corporate screensavers or wallpapers. These can be very useful because your employees already see them every day. Thus, they won’t forget them.

 

“We normally use DeskAlerts to inform employees about critical service outages for emergency maintenance where action from users is required. We’ve been using it during the COVID-19 situation to survey our employees about whether they had the equipment needed to work from home.”

 

 

(International bank, Switzerland)

 

Innatos - person worrking in the computer

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts. Keep remote employees in the loop

 

Problem

 

Since a lot of employees are working from home, and thus, aren’t surrounded by coworkers and managers, they can become isolated.

 

This disconnect from the company can result in a decrease in productivity. This is because employees aren’t clear about the best way to manage working from home as well as the priorities of the company.

 

Solution

 

You can solve this problem by making sure you have a good communications system in place as well as equipment. Thus, they can allow you to create effective communication between you and your employees. Some of these systems or tools can be videoconferencing, instant messengers, and team sharing platforms. These are great to beat the obstacles that COVID has given us.

 

Likewise, you need to keep good communication between management and your employees. But they aren’t the only ones that need to keep in touch with each other. For example, HR, IT, facilities, security, communications, payroll, among others, need to stay in touch with employees. For this, they need an easy to use tool that can send messages quickly if it’s needed.

 

Tools to use

 

You send DeskAlerts in real-time to all employees or custom audiences. Likewise, the notifications can be delivered straight to the employee’s desktop. It doesn’t matter what device they use. It can be a Windows or Mac computer, or an Apple or Android phone or tablet and they will still work.

 

For keeping remote employees in the loop use DeskAlerts cloud solution. Tools such as a mobile app, SMS, and pop-ups will be especially helpful.

 

One of our clients says they use the system for HR internal communications during COVID-19: “Half of our teamwork in the field and we have two remote offices. DeskAlerts is a great way to alert everyone to the same information and we can reach them across all devices at the same time.

 

(Non-profit sector, Canada)

 

Inform about new policies and receive confirmation of the acknowledgment

 

Problem

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts. During this time of great change and turmoil, companies are having to rebuild various internal policies – or implement many new ones. 

 

This could include working from home protocols, health, and safety, a policy about having to wear a mask. They might even send a letter that welcomes all employees back to the office after a period of working from home. This letter could outline what must be done to keep safe at work.

 

With so much information about COVID-19 and its effects on the business, it can be hard for employees to know what’s going on or even where to look for the information.

 

Solution

 

Through the use of DeskAlerts, you can send alert notifications with links to the new policies and protocol. Likewise, with this tool, you can be sure that your employees have read this important information. Since a lot of this has to do with health and safety, is your duty as an employer to ensure that this information is provided to your employees. Thus, DeskAlerts is great for this since it lets management know who has or hasn’t read the information.

 

Tools to use

 

Send desktop tickers to remind your employees about the new rules and quiz them to check their knowledge.

 

“We use DeskAlerts to notify our people across different platforms such as mobile and desktop about urgent updates, policy changes, emergencies, and so on, or to target specific people for training purposes.”

(Construction industry, the USA)

 

Surveys

 

Problem

 

It can very hard to boost your employee’s engagement during normal circumstances, you can imagine this can be even more difficult during these times. This is because they now work from their homes and are isolated. Thus, they are out of your reach.

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts, Solution

 

One of the best ways to improve engagement is to find out what employees think about things that are happening in the company, and then implement appropriate solutions if necessary.

 

How do you know what is really happening and how employees are feeling without asking them? By doing surveys where you can easily find out what the “mood” of the organization is.

 

Tools to use

 

6 Best Internal Communication Practices during COVID-19 with DeskAlerts. DeskAlerts enables you to quickly and easily survey your employee. It can also allow you to see the results in real-time. This way you can begin to make any changes you need to make.

 

“We survey our staff to determine whether they have appropriate working conditions, including proper remote access to company systems, meeting software, and personal protective equipment.”

 

(Retail organization, Africa)

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As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to using DeskAlerts in your organization. Both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It can help you to improve internal communications and thus, keep your employees in the loop.

Get in touch with us today to explore these benefits

And receive a free trial of our system.