As companies that shifted to work-from-home mode or furloughed employees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to bring their people back to the workplace, managers are focused on a long list of details. Are desks or workstations far enough apart? Do conference rooms allow for social distancing? How many employees can safely ride in an elevator at once? There are hundreds of questions, and employers are making one tough decision after another.

If you’re an employer or manager, we don’t envy you … and we don’t want to add to your workload … but we do have a request. As you take steps to protect your employees’ physical health, don’t forget about their mental and emotional well-being.

People everywhere are concerned about COVID, and the uncertainty about what will happen in the weeks and months to come is bringing some degree of anxiety to nearly everyone. Beyond their own health, many people wonder if their jobs are safe given the economic fallout. When people live with constant stress and anxiety, it takes a toll on them and their work performance. They may turn to alcohol and other drugs in an effort to feel better.

That’s why it’s so important for companies to focus on employees’ mental and emotional health as they return to the workplace.

One of the most effective things companies can do is step up communication. Meaningful information can help overcome anxiety. Keeping employees apprised of the steps you’re taking and your expectations for them will help to limit the “what if” questions that breed worries. Make sure your team is fully aware of the steps you’re taking to protect them. Effective communications also involves listening, so creating ways for employees to ask questions or share their concerns can also be helpful.

As your employees get back into work, monitor their mood and their performance for signs of problems. Don’t be surprised if it takes a little while for productivity to return to pre-pandemic levels. Make sure your managers and supervisors know how to recognize warning signs of depression, anxiety, and other issues — and that you have a plan in place for responding to that.

Care to Change can support your efforts to look after your team’s mental health. We can provide training to help your managers better understand mental health and the issues they may encounter. We can offer workshops and lunch-and-learns on helpful topics such as practical ways to reduce stress. In addition, we can provide counseling to employees who need additional support. How can we best support you? We’ll be happy to talk with you and offer ideas!

Call us today. 317-790-9396. Or email us at help@caretochange.org.