As we transition into the new normal, for both employees working from home and those still traveling to work, mental health is critical. As a leader, you can help cultivate a supportive environment for your employees in this difficult time.
Follow these tips from Raconteur on how to support your employee’s mental health during COVID-19:
Now more than ever, regular communication is key. It’s up to leaders to take charge and reassure employees. Employees are looking for clear, concise and timely answers. Ensure that your employees know what’s changing, why and how it will impact them. It’s also important to be sure to communicate empathetically and give your employees a space to ask questions. Above all your employees want to know they’re supported.
Shift your leadership style
Operating like “business as usual” may not be the right approach. Being able to shift your leadership style as the situation demands can help both you and your employees. Right now, Raconteur recommends enacting a participative leadership style, with collaboration and ownership. This allows your employees to feel like they have control. As COVID-19 nears its peak, however, a decisive, authoritative style might be more appropriate. That’s the time where any level of ambiguity can be unsettling, and your employees need more definition.
Relax the rules
This situation is unprecedented and uncertain for all of us. Now is not the time to chastise employees, but practice empathy. As a leader, be there for your employees and allow them more flexibility. Parents in particular are under stress as children are home and may be unable to attend scheduled meetings or cultivate a child-free space. During this time, your employees need some room to define their new normal.
Locate the resources
As offices shut down and employees lack face-to-face time with HR, therapists or counsellors, your employees may not know where to turn if they need help. As a leader, you can support them by being familiar with your company’s mental health resources and make those resources clear for all employees.
Know when to step aside
Even as a leader, you can’t possibly taken on every task yourself. If you’re not up to a task but another member of your team is, it’s better for your mental health and the mental health of your employees for you to delegate.
Don’t stop the social
While you can’t congregate face-to-face with employees, social breaks boost morale and combat loneliness. Virtual games or happy hours are a great way to still connect. Even one-on-ones or small team chats can be immensely helpful to your employees. Make something social part of your weekly routine.
As we all have to adjust, it’s important to be there for your employees. Show them empathy and give them space as their routines are disrupted. The best way to be supportive of your employees is to be there for them.
Strom Minnesota is an engineering and technical recruitment agency that specializes in high-skilled job candidates for highly technical positions. We facilitate contract employment, project staffing, temp-to-perm and direct hire opportunities. Industries served include IT, engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and manufacturing. We are affiliated with Strom Engineering, a national staffing and recruitment agency.