Employers Beware! Are we sleep walking into a mental health emergency?

Uncertainty breeds anxiety, and we are living in uncertain times. Between rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, questions about whether or not to close restaurants and wet pubs and the economic fallout of the pandemic, we don’t know what will come next. And that’s taking a toll on our mental health, including at work.

We saw an impact early in the pandemic. At the end of March and in early April, the nonprofit organisation, Mind Share Partners, conducted a study of global employees in partnership with Qualtrics and SAP. They found that the mental health of almost 42% of respondents had declined since the outbreak began. Given all that’s happened between then and now, we can only imagine that the figure has increased.

As we navigate various transitions over the coming months and years, leaders are likely to see employees struggle with anxiety, depression, burnout, trauma, and PTSD.

So, what can managers and leaders do to support people as they face new stressors, safety concerns, and economic upheaval?

1. Be vulnerable.
​One silver lining of the pandemic is that it is normalizing mental health challenges. Being honest about your mental health struggles as a leader opens the door for employees to feel comfortable talking with you about mental health challenges of their own.

2. Model healthy behaviors.
Don’t just say you support mental health. Model it so that your team members feel they can prioritize self-care and set boundaries.

3. Build a culture of connection through check-ins. Intentionally checking in with each of your direct reports on a regular basis is more critical than ever. That was important but often underutilized in pre-pandemic days. Now, with so many people working from home, it can be even harder to notice the signs that someone is struggling. Go beyond a simple “How are you?” and ask specific questions about what supports would be helpful. Wait for the full answer. Really listen, and encourage questions and concerns.

4. Offer flexibility and be inclusive. Expect that the situation, your team’s needs, and your own needs will continue to change. Check in regularly — particularly at transition points. You can help problem-solve any issues that come up only if you know what’s happening. Those conversations will also give you an opportunity to reiterate norms and practices that support mental health.

5. Communicate more than you think you need to. Make sure you keep your team informed about any organizational changes or updates. Clarify any modified work hours and norms. Remove stress where possible by setting expectations about workloads, prioritizing what must get done, and acknowledging what can slide if necessary.

6. Modify policies and practices. To reduce stress on everyone, be as generous and flexible as possible in updating policies and practices in reaction to the pandemic and civil unrest.

7. Measure. Ensuring accountability doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be handled in a simple pulse survey done regularly to understand how people are doing now and over time.

8. Invest in training. Now more than ever, you should prioritize proactive and preventive workplace mental health training for leaders, managers, and individual contributors.

Even in the most uncertain of times and with World Mental Health Day coming up on October 10th, the role of a manager remains the same: to support your team members. That includes supporting their mental health.

Which is why we felt the need to find a solution to keep your team not only engaged, motivated and connected while apart but also one that can help with employee well-being.

Pendulum Resurgence: Emerging From Disruption is taking place on November 27th 2020 and will unite the business world for a one-day day virtual extravaganza with world-class speakers speaking on topics such as remote leadership, organisational resilience, leading through disruptive times, business agility, communication, the future of work and more.

It can be enjoyed by yourself from the comfort of your home or be a shared immersive experience with your team, friends, family or peer groups through our ‘group pods’. We also have Live and On-Demand options available for an additional cost email welcome@pendulumsummit.com for more info.

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Remote work is no longer a trend. It’s an immediate imperative and the way we work has changed forever. Find guidance and solutions to help you adapt now and activate a resilient, flexible workforce with employees who are productive, engaged and empowered.

Join a host of global visionaries including Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Ambassador Samantha Power, Keith Cunningham, Monica Parker, Dr. Harry Barry, Baroness Michelle Mone, Jamie Heaslip and more.

Can you afford not to hear the game-changing insights, network with the best and make sure that you are ahead of your competitors?

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Delegates will be immersed in a world-class virtual 3D platform with live and interactive speaker sessions, live networking opportunities through text, audio and video chat in a 1:1 or group chat setting, a virtual auditorium and exhibit area. The event offers CPD accreditation and is accessible on any device, in multiple languages and accessible across different time zones.

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If you are looking for a cost effective way to showcase your brand to 5,000+ global champions of industry our Sponsorship, Exhibitors and Company Packages are just the ticket! Reach out to our dedicated team by email welcome@pendulumsummit.com or call +353 1 685 3370.