Co-written with BOCA’s Director of HR Wendy Brittain
For many employees, taking time off when they are sick is a no-brainer. When it comes to taking mental health days, there is generally more hesitation. This is especially true during the coronavirus pandemic as many people are now working from home which can blur the line between work and personal life. Compound that with social distancing measures and there isn’t much to do even if you do take a day off.
At the start of COVID-19, many company leaders across industries reported their employees were cancelling their time off because they could no longer go on the vacations they had planned. However, “a poll from mental health provider Ginger revealed that 88% of U.S. workers had been moderately to extremely stressed during the pandemic, with more than two-thirds reporting these times are the most stressful in their career.” This means it is more pertinent than ever to encourage employees to be utilizing their PTO for mental health days. A mental health day should involve logging offline as much as possible and doing something you love like gardening or hiking. It can also mean doing nothing at all but catching up on 90 Day Fiancé on the couch.
But what else can you do to help your more stressed out than usual employees?
- Acknowledge employee concerns around their jobs and the company well-being. Be transparent with the team about the state of the company and reassure them of their value to the organization.
- Encourage your employees to engage with a mental health provider. Therapy is important to helping maintain mental well-being.
- If applicable, be direct and transparent about your company’s return to work plans.
- Be hyper vigilant of workloads. While this should already be monitored, in these times of extreme stress employees can be overwhelmed more easily.
- Schedule more frequent check-ins for your employees with their managers. They can discuss workload, life, etc. Feeling heard will help them.
- Recognize and celebrate employee successes and victories. This will help boost morale.
- Schedule fun employee events. You can see what BOCA has been doing to keep connected while virtual here.
Making sure your employees take care of their mental health is always important. During the pandemic, it is more important than ever. Once we are in a post-COVID world, you can still apply these tips to keep your employees happy and healthy.