While a new year may be here, unfortunately so is COVID-19. As a result, it’s likely your employees are still feeling a certain amount of uncertainty, stress or anxiety.
This is why it’s so important to continue to keep an eye on your staff, as well as take the time to check in regularly, whether they’re still working from home or are back in the office face-to-face.
Things To Watch Out For
There are a number of signs that your employees might be struggling with their mental health. Some of the most common include:
- Avoiding communication or being overly quiet in conversations
- Getting quickly overwhelmed
- Becoming easily upset or frustrated with others
- Dodging certain activities such as staff meetings
- Having trouble concentrating, managing tasks or making decisions
- Turning up late to meetings or for the work day
- Taking excessive leave
- Being reluctant to accept negative feedback
- Looking tired
- Appearing stressed or burned out
If your staff exhibit such signs, a mental health check-in is imperative. But as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so here are a number of ways you can support staff to avoid them hitting their breaking point.
Some Mental Health Suggestions For Your Staff
1. Communicate Clearly And Regularly
A large number of IT staff continue to work remotely this year. If your team is one of them, it’s possible they may be reaching their ‘isolation’ threshold. But if they’ve returned to the office, they could also be feeling ‘re-entry anxiety’. Either way, it’s crucial to keep your lines of communication open.
While regular team meetings are important, individual meetups matter just as much, especially as stressed employees may not be comfortable to share openly in front of others.
It’s also a good idea to keep the fun level up. It can be as simple as a daily coffee catch up (virtually or in person), or something a little more elaborate, such as a team lunch at a park (if COVID restrictions in your state allow it) or online at a specified time (consider sending each member an Uber voucher).
2. Offer As Much Certainty As You Can
By checking in regularly, you’ll come to understand your team members’ anxiety points, and one might be job security. To address this, aim to be as upfront as you can. Share the blueprint for the next quarter at a team and company level (if possible).
3. Ask Your Staff For Help
Most people have been doing iso for a while now and have found the coping strategies that work for them. Invite staff to share the tips or resources that helped them cope during isolation with the larger group.
The same invitation can be used for those who’ve returned to face-to-face work. This may start with a casual conversation about what each team member found hard when returning to work the first day, the first week etc.
4. Be Flexible
For those employees that are really struggling, flexibility around their work hours may be something that helps them deal with their anxiety. As an example, it might be a later start. Those in the office can avoid peak public transport travel, while those at home can share the school run duties.
As a manager, continuing to support staff as they deal with COVID-created anxieties is a vital part of your role, and we hope these tips have helped. It’s also just as important to nurture your mental wellbeing, as a team can only be as strong as their captain. Feel free to let us know if we can assist in any way.