Supporting the Mental Health of Employees
Staff Are Your Greatest Asset
Pandemic situations are particularly stressful for education workers whose daily lives are significantly altered as a result. From increased workload to risk of exposure, they’re dealing with a lot of change, risk, and stress. There are measures that can support workers’ mental health and wellbeing during these times of prolonged stress.
During times of significant uncertainty, it can be helpful for employees to know that you have a plan to address their concerns and support them during difficult times. In fact, having a plan may alleviate worker stress. Your staff are your greatest resource – you can support them.
It can be helpful for employees to know that you have a plan to address their concerns and support them during difficult times.
Provide Resources and Social Support
Staff may not be aware of the resources they have access to for support, whether for their mental health or on topics that might reduce their stress (e.g. childcare, transmission prevention, etc.). In addition, many workers may feel isolated from their social network, whether because they’re stigmatized due to their role or find themselves in isolation at home. There may be opportunities to develop stronger social supports and connect with workers who are currently isolating and feel disconnected.
Strategies for Supporting Staff
Below are a few examples of strategies you can apply to support your staff. There are many more out there though, such as our “Leaders Helping Leaders” guide or the CAMH Mental Health and COVID-19 Discussion Forum.
- Provide Psychological First Aid training to managers to help them support workers
- Offer online or in-person mentorship within the team to develop camaraderie, where appropriate
- Provide information about self-isolation protocols and the accompanying policies for compensation and sick leave to all workers
- Consider regular check-ins with workers who are self-isolating and are not able to work right now
- Provide helpful wellbeing resources to workers in a location easy for them to access
- Ensure all workers are aware of any Employee and Family Assistance Programs available to them
- Ensure workers are working the appropriate hours and taking their union-mandated breaks
These current times are not ‘business as usual’. Significant benefits can be garnered by workers who know that their workplace recognizes their efforts, has implemented proactive procedures, and has a plan to support their fears and concerns. Much of this comes down to clear communication of pertinent information and opportunities for workers to discuss and feel heard by their peers and by their management team. This is the time when leaders need to be visible/available.
For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to help you support your staff during these difficult days.