Working from the office seems like a distant memory for many. While commutes don’t exist as they once did, people have taken on isolation, stress, and burnout—a challenge echoed in our recent AI@Work study where 78% of respondents say that 2020 is the most stressful year ever. Staying home while trying to juggle work, childcare, schooling, and unpredictable finances has taken its toll on working families.
Organizations are realizing that they must address all aspects of employee health, including stress and anxiety, in order to avoid a decline in productivity and prevent work burnout. HR leaders are in the best position to drive the adoption of supporting mental health in the workplace, but how? Here are some real initiatives and ideas that CHROs shared with us that they’ve implemented in their companies.
Support Workplace Well-being
In uncertain times, adjustments or additions are necessary to help relieve employees of stressors. Going the extra mile can also contribute to increased employee engagement. Some companies have helped their workforce by:
- Adjusting work-related incentive plans and goals. With business landscapes changing, some sales teams for example may be granted a reduction in how much they must sell.
- Providing free access to financial planning and credit monitoring services
- Understanding that employees are working under added pressures and offering resources for support.
Deliver Relief for Parents
Between raising children and busy workdays, parents need every break they can get. Some companies are helping by:
- Helping write off groceries or lunch bills, versus what used to be an in-office breakfast or lunch offering.
- Offering backup child care, free tutoring, and access to child care services. Demand for external services has increased since employees began working from home.
- Partnering with virtual education opportunities while children aren’t at school.
- Providing Paid caregiver leave in the case of an ill family member.
- Raising awareness of the Employee Assistance Program for counseling benefits and support.
Community still matters even if we are “alone together”. One way is to relate to colleagues through activities formerly done in the office or after work hours. These include:
- Providing opportunities for virtual community service, where activities can be completed over video conferencing.
- Creating well-being modules and challenges geared towards staying physically and mentally healthy at home. You can even provide prizes for those who win.
- Encouraging managers to host virtual coffee or lunch that provide a safe gathering for interaction, similar to meeting in the breakroom.
- Hosting virtual happy hours, group workouts, and game activities like Trivia or Pictionary to encourage a greater sense of community and well-being.
- Matching or doubling employee donations to local organizations.
Let’s face it, everything right now is stressful. The pressures of work and home, and combining the two, can impact mental wellness. It is important to give your employees the ability to take time away from the screen every week. Fed up of peering at your tiny laptop screen? Want the comfort of your chair? Don’t fret – instead provide your employees with home office options that promote an environment of well-being, like:
- Including monthly wellness stipend for each employee that can be spent on anything relating to self-care.
- Allowing employees to grab their office equipment to use in their home.
- Reimbursing employees for home office furniture purchases.
- Supporting taking vacation days and completely disconnecting from the workplace.
Do any of these actions for well-being stand out to you? Share your favorites in the comments section below and let us know what you’re doing in your organization.
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