The coronavirus crisis has placed workers’ mental health at the forefront of company management challenges. Perhaps you’re managing employees’ safety and wellbeing in a shared workspace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Or maybe your team has had to quickly learn how to work together remotely. 

How can HR professionals and organizational leaders best navigate the mental health impacts of the pandemic? Spring Health’s new guide, Managing Your Employees Through Crisis, offers key tips to better navigate the challenges of workplace mental health during COVID-19.

This guide covers important strategies for managers working from home, fostering remote teamwork, balancing remote HR communication and logistics, and helping employees navigate their way to better mental wellbeing.

Facts about workplace mental health during COVID-19

Mental illness has increased among employees up to as much as 65% for some conditions during this pandemic. Worsening impairments may include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and others. Here is some of what your employees may be facing.

Remote workers may:

·        feel an increased sense of isolation

·        struggle with balancing home and work dynamics

·        lose motivation or have trouble focusing

·        worry about children’s learning and general wellbeing

·        lack necessary self-care, exercise, and outdoor activities

·        neglect personal connections and relationships

·        feel generally overwhelmed regarding their job duties

In-person workers may:

·        worry about contracting COVID-19 or managing their health after an infection

·        need to manage changes in childcare

·        fear financial impacts from layoffs or furloughs

·        fear financial impacts from getting sick and missing work

·        struggle with absenteeism

·        struggle with “presenteeism,” or being mentally unable to fully perform work tasks

·        face other types of mental distress as they transition into new routines

Employees will potentially struggle in varying ways, regardless of their work environment. Many employees will have an increase in severe work impairment of up to 50%.

Workers are constantly exposed to COVID-19 news stories on social media and other outlets, which can result in fear and anxiety. They may suffer losses due to COVID-19 and need help managing grief. Or they may have existing conditions that worsen during the pandemic.

Additionally, Black/African Americans face an increased risk of mental illness and must overcome societal barriers to treatment—as do other ethnic or racial minorities due to racism, stigma, and related institutional biases.

Crucially, these employees may not know how to bring their struggles to the attention of company management.

Download our full guide, Managing Your Employees Through Crisis, to learn how to best manage these and other challenging situations that may come up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next steps

Businesses should have a solid workplace plan for employees’ mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Communicating this plan clearly to employees—and encouraging them to communicate in turn about their mental health journeys—is essential.

Likely, your office already has a plan in place for the everyday needs of your workers. Traditional mental health benefits can be a crucial tool toward keeping team members healthy and happy. Yet COVID-19 presents many novel challenges for businesses.

Spring Health’s Precision Mental Healthcare solutions can match your team members to individualized treatments, whether they need immediate psychiatric care or less serious interventions, such as self-care-based meditation or practiced mindfulness. Contact us to learn more about what Spring Health can offer your team members. 

Connor Holmes
Connor is a staff writer for Spring Health.

October 16, 2020