The role of an employer is critical. It comes with the responsibility of keeping track of each employee, maintaining a safe work environment for each employee, upholding a code of ethics, establishing trust, and preserving morale. When there is a collective hardship like COVID-19, you as an employer have to step up to honor the role in an unforeseen way.
As of mid-April, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment due to the mandatory closing of businesses to protect the general population. Many who are considered non-essential workers have shifted to working from home, uncertain if they will remain employed. Understandably so, these abrupt circumstances have generated mental health issues. In difficult times like these, you can advocate for your employees, helping their lives in real, tangible ways.
Tips For Employers
One in three people have reported leaving their jobs because they did not feel like their employer cared about them as a person. You have the opportunity to bridge the gap between an employee-employer relationship with dignity. Here are some ways you can look out for your team and show them appreciation while they work during a global crisis:
- Abide government restrictions: Respect your state’s decision to implement a stay-at-home-order and ban on non-essential businesses to operate at any brick and mortars (if applicable) to protect your employees. Obeying these orders will help keep you and your workers safe.
- Provide care packages: If funds allow, send your team members a box with hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, non-perishable snacks, a book, and anything else that reflects your company culture. If you choose a book or activity, you can discuss it during optional virtual gatherings.
- Adapt to others’ schedules: Each employee has their own life at home that may cause limitations on their productivity (such as caring for kids throughout the day, sharing a space with others, watching over elderly pets, etc.). To optimize working from home, you can set up mandatory work hours–slightly less than regular office hours–with effective communication and clear tasks. Of course, if employees have emergencies or simply cannot adhere to the schedule from home, find a compromise so that both your employees and the business can thrive.
- Be transparent: Alert your employees and business partners about any changes that affect the company and the people in it–especially if it is detrimental. It is best to be straightforward as a form of compassion.
- Check in: Some businesses are busier than they were pre-Coronavirus, putting stress on employees to juggle their physical and mental health, work, and home life. Arrange a day and time during the weekday each week to have a virtual check-in with your team, outside of your work meetings. Create a safe and open space to take a few minutes for each employee to share what everyone is going through and support one another. Make these meetings optional, no need to overextend.
- Offer counseling: There will most likely be one or a few employees that cannot cope or have fallen deep into depression and anxiety. Although the support chats are helpful, it will be best to find a third party to help them. If it is within your means, offer a few company-provided sessions to distressed employees. Or, help your employees find referrals through your company insurance network.
- Get help: As an executive or manager, it is inevitable that you will be faced with a lot of pressure. There is the need to continue meeting company goals, resolving company and employee company issues, dealing with employee personal issues, and handling your own life all while there is widespread collective trauma in the making. Prioritize yourself. Make sure to eat a healthy diet, exercise at home, and get regular mental health treatment.
This is a truly unusual disruption, but as a boss to a team, you can reassure your employees that you cherish them as workers and humans. Even if your business is on temporary hold, small gestures to your employees can strengthen your relationships and improve your wellbeing during an anxious period.
For more information on mental health treatment in Los Angeles, please contact Trauma and Beyond Center ® at 818-351-3511 or visit us at traumaandbeyondcenter.com.